A Dhaka court on Sunday sentenced 13 people to death and eight others to life imprisonment for killing Awami League leader Zahirul Haque in Brahmanbaria in 2016.
Judge Abu Zafar Md Kamruzzaman of the Dhaka Speedy Trial Tribunal-1 handed down the verdict in a jam-packed courtroom with 16 of the convicts standing in the dock.
The lifers are: Nurul Islam, Habibur Rahman, Rasel, Maju Miah, Golap Miah, Sohel Miah, Shahjahan and Borhan alias Ruhan. They were also fined Tk 50,000 each, in default, to suffer one year more in jail.
Of the convicts, Fariaz, Shithil, Saiful, Pavel and Ali Miah are on the run. The court issued a warrant for their arrest.
The court in its observation said the murder of Zahirul Haque was a brutal incident. The Awami League leader was killed in a planned way. For this reason, the tribunal thinks it is appropriate to give maximum punishment to the accused for their offences.
Expressing satisfaction with the verdict, plaintiff of the case Principal Kabir Hossain said, “We’re satisfied with the verdict. Hopefully, this verdict will be upheld in the High Court too and it’ll be executed soon.”
Public prosecutor Abu Abdullah Bhuiyan also expressed his satisfaction with the verdict.
According to the prosecution, Zahirul Haque, a businessman from Jagat Bazar in Brahmanbaria and general secretary of Natai Dakkhin Union’s ward 5 unit of AL, was returning to his village home from Brahmanbaria town in a CNG-run auto-rickshaw on November 14, 2016.
On his way home, the convicts attacked him over previous enmity regarding Union Parishad election and beat and stabbed him seriously. He was rushed to Brahmanbaria Sadar Hospital where he died while undergoing treatment.
After the incident, victim’s younger brother Kabir Hossain filed a case with Brahmanbaria Sadar Police Station. After investigation, police submitted a chargesheet against 21 people in the case.