Muslem to die; Farook, Shahriar, Huda, Mohiuddin acquitted | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 29, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, August 29, 2008

HC Verdict In Jail Killing Case

Muslem to die; Farook, Shahriar, Huda, Mohiuddin acquitted


(The Killers ) FROM TOP LEFT… Former army men Lt Col Khondakar Abdur Rashid, Lt Col Shariful Haq Dalim, Lt Col Noor Chowdhury, Lt Col Rashed Chowdhury, death-sentenced Resalder Muslemuddin, Maj Ahmed Sharful Hossain, Capt Abdul Majed. Capt Kismat Hashem and Capt Nazmul Hossain Ansar.Photo: File Photo

The High Court (HC) yesterday acquitted six former military men including Syed Farook Rahman, Sultan Shahriar Rashid Khan, Bazlul Huda and AKM Mohiuddin Ahmed of charges in the Jail Killing Case.
It however upheld the death sentence to Risaldar (retd) Muslemuddin, still on the run.
Of those cleared, Dafadar (dismissed) Marfat Ali Shah and Dafadar (dismissed) Abdul Hashem Mridha had been sentenced to death by trial court and Lt Col (dismissed) Farook, Lt Col (retd) Shahriar Rashid, Major (retd) Huda and Major (retd) Mohiuddin to life for their role in killing four national leaders inside Dhaka Central Jail on November 3, 1975.
Marfat Ali and Abdul Hashem are fugitives and the rest behind bars.
The HC bench comprised of Justice Nozrul Islam Chowdhury and Justice Md Ataur Rahman Khan however did not pass any orders on the eight lifers who had not filed any appeal. This means their convictions by the lower court remain valid.
The eight, believed to be holed up abroad, are Lt Col (dismissed) Khondaker Abdur Rashid, Lt Col (relieved) Shariful Haq Dalim, Lt Col (retd) SHMB Noor Chowdhury, Lt Col (retd) AM Rashed Chowdhury, Major (relieved) Ahmed Sharful Hossain, Captain (retd) Abdul Majed, Captain (relieved) Kismat Hashem and Captain (relieved) Nazmul Hossain.
The killing of liberation movement stalwarts Syed Nazrul Islam, Tajuddin Ahmed, M Mansur Ali and AHM Qamaruzzaman came a little over two and a half months after the assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
The court asked the authorities to release those in jail if there are no other charges against them.
Farook, Shahriar Rashid, Huda and Mohiuddin are detained also in Bangabandhu Murder Case. They have been condemned to death in the case. Their appeals against the convictions are now pending with the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court.
In its judgment, the HC yesterday observed that the evidence and statements of the witnesses did not prove beyond doubt the allegations except those against Muslemuddin.
The convicts appealing against the verdict get the benefit of the doubt as per principles of natural justice, it continued.
Muslemuddin's name was on the register at the jail gate on November 3 and all the witnesses testified that he was involved in the murders.
The bench also observed that the investigation officer had not properly investigated the Jail Killing Case. Some persons had been wrongly implicated, it added.
The relatives of those with convictions quashed expressed satisfaction with the HC decision.
Sweety, Mohiuddin's relative, said, “We have got justice from the High Court in this case and hope the same will happen to other cases as well."
Anisul Huq, chief state counsel, termed the verdict "unfortunate and a farce".
"I'm disappointed with the judgment. We will go to the Supreme Court to appeal against it. We have faith in the apex court and we believe we'll get justice there," he told reporters on the court premises.
Abdullah-al Mamun, counsel for the defence, said the verdict shows that some innocent persons were implicated in this case.
"It proves my clients were not involved in the killing," he said.
The HC began delivering the verdict on August 18.
Hearings on the appeals and death references in the case began on July 13, around four years after the trial court's judgment. They continued for 26 workdays.
A day after the killing, the then deputy inspector general of police Abdul Awal filed a case with Lalbagh Police Station against four persons including Muslemuddin.
After 23 long years, police submitted charge sheet against 23 people including Farook and Muslemuddin on October 15, 1998.
Metropolitan Sessions Judge's Court in Dhaka passed the verdict in the case on October 20, 2004, sentencing three people to death and 12 to life in prison.
Five of the accused--KM Obaidur Rahman, Shah Moazzem Hossain, Nurul Islam Monzoor, Taheruddin Thakur and Khairuzzaman--were relieved of the charges.
The convicts filed appeals with the HC immediately after pronouncement of the judgement. Mohiuddin, who was brought back home from the United States on June 18 last year, appealed against his conviction from jail.

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