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Hoshi Murder

HC upholds death sentence of four JMB men

  • Staff Correspondent
  • 22 September, 2022 12:00 AM
  • Print news

The High Court has upheld the death sentence of four militants of Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) for the murder of Japanese national Kunio Hoshi.

The HC bench of Justice Md Mostafizur Rahman and Justice SM Masud Hossain Dolon ruled on the death reference and convicts’ appeal against their sentences on Wednesday.

The court also overturned the sentence for another convict, Ishaq Ali, who was also condemned to death by the trial court, for lack of evidence.

The four convicts are JMB regional commander Masud Rana alias Mamun, 21, Liton Mia alias Rafique, 23, Shakhawat Hossain, 32, and Ahsan Ullah Ansari alias Biplob, 24. Of them, Ahsan Ullah Ansari, a student of Begum Rokeya University, Rangpur, is absconding.

Deputy Attorney General Bashir Ahmed appeared for the state while Advocate Ahsan Ullah and Shamsul Islam represented the convicts in the High Court.

Reacting to the verdict, Bashir Ahmed said, “Five people were sentenced to death by the trial court. The death sentences for four of them have been upheld. One of the accused, Ishaq Ali, was acquitted.”

 Referring to Ishaq’s acquittal in the short order passed by the court, he said the state will look into the matter after receiving a copy of the full judgment.

On February 28, 2017, Rangpur Special Judge Naresh Chandra Sarkar sentenced the five JMB men to death in connection with the murder of Kunio Hoshi, a sexagenarian Japanese man who had made Bangladesh his home for decades. They were also fined Tk 20,000 each.

Later, the convicts filed appeal petitions before the High Court against the trial court judgment.

According to the case dossier, Kunio, 65, was shot dead by a group of masked JMB militants riding motorcycles as he was heading to his farm at Kachu Alutary in Kaunia upazila of Rangpur on October 3, 2015.

The killing was similar to that of Italian aid worker Cesare Tavella in Dhaka a week earlier and the attacks on foreigners in Bangladesh made international headlines at the time.

Syria-based terrorist group Islamic State had reportedly claimed responsibility for the attacks, but the government rebuffed it, saying the radical group had no presence in Bangladesh.

The police pressed charges against seven members of JMB in connection with the murder on July 10, 2016.

Of them, Nazrul Islam alias Hassan alias Bike Hassan of Panchagarh and Saddam Hossain alias Rahul alias Chanchal alias Sabuj alias Robi of Rajshahi died in separate ‘gunfights’ in Rajshahi and Dhaka's Mohammadpur area, respectively, in 2016.

The death reference and appeals came before the High Court on March 7, 2017, and it began hearing the matter on September 4 this year.