It’s a case of suicide, not murder
The High Court yesterday acquitted a death-row prisoner convicted of killing his wife in Gournadi, Barishal, in 2010.
The HC concluded that the woman died by suicide and acquitted Mostafa Sarder.
The body of Kohinur Begum, 35, was found in a tin-shed house of her husband, Mostafa Sarder, in February of that year.
In 2015, a Barishal court found Mostafa guilty of killing his wife Kohinur and sentenced him to death.
The HC bench of Justice SM Emdadul Hoque and Justice Bhishmadev Chakrabortty yesterday delivered the verdict after hearing on the death reference and an appeal filed by Mostafa challenging the Barishal court verdict.
"After considering the depositions of the prosecution witnesses, post-mortem report and the inquest report, the HC concluded that it was a case of suicide and not homicide," Mostafa's lawyer Mohammad Shishir Manir told The Daily Star.
"Therefore, the High Court scrapped the judgment delivered by the lower court and acquitted Mostafa."
But Assistant Attorney General (AAG) Zahid Ahammed Hero expressed surprise, saying the post-mortem report and other evidence, upon which the trial court considered the case, supported the conclusion that it was homicide.
Citing the post-mortem report, AAG Zahid said the death was due to the combined effect of intracranial haemorrhage and violent asphyxia resulting from strangulation, which was ante-mortem and homicidal in nature. The HC observed that the incident of homicidal haemorrhage was not proven beyond doubt, he said.
The state will challenge the HC verdict at the Appellate Division, he said.
Mostafa's lawyer Shishir Manir said the forensic department at Barishal Sher-e-Bangla Medical College concluded that the incident was homicidal in nature.
But, transverse ligature mark on the neck and protruded tongue are indicative of suicide, he added.
Besides, he said, Kohinur's father Asmat Ali Sarder and her two children told the magistrate concerned that Kohinur died by suicide.
The lawyer said his client Mostafa will be released from Barishal jail if the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court does not stay the HC verdict.
The details of the observations could not be known as the full text was not released yesterday.
According to the complaint, Mostafa, a small trader at Lalkheraj Kasba village in Gournadi, married Kohinur and had two daughters and a son together.
Two months before Kohinur's death, Mostafa married another woman named Bulu Begum. The second marriage had been the source of friction and quarrels between Mostafa and Kohinur.
On February 1, 2010, Kohinur's father Asmat Ali Sarder came to know from a neighbour, Hasi Begum, that his daughter had been missing for a few days.
Informed, police and locals recovered Kohinur's decomposed hanging body.
Asmat Ali Sarder later filed a case accusing Mostafa, Bulu Begum, her ex-husband Lal Miah and two others of killing his daughter.
On May 31, 2010, police pressed charges against Mostafa, Bulu Begum and Lal Miah.
The additional district and sessions judge's court concerned of Barishal on October 8, 2015 sentenced Mostafa to death and acquitted Bulu and Lal Miah.
Mostafa then filed the appeal with the HC challenging the trial court verdict.