TAVELLA MURDER : ‘I was threatened with crossfire’, accused tells family

David Bergman and Muktadir Rashid
Afroza Akhter and Subarna Chowdhury, the mother and sister of Rasel Chowdhury who is now in Kashimpur Jail. — New Age photo

Afroza Akhter and Subarna Chowdhury, the mother and sister of Rasel Chowdhury who is now in Kashimpur Jail. — New Age photo

Another man accused of the murder of Italian citizen Cesare Tavella in Dhaka has told his family that he gave a confessional statement to a metropolitan magistrate as he was ‘brutally tortured’ and ‘threatened with cross fire.’
Four relatives of the accused, Rasel Chowdhury, met him on Saturday in Kashimpur Central Jail where he had been remanded two days earlier by a metropolitan magistrate after confessing to his involvement in the murder on September 28 of the Italian NGO worker in Gulshan’s diplomatic zone.
On October 26, along with three other men, Rasel was presented to the media and accused of involvement in the murder of Cesara. Police said that all the four were arrested the previous night, though witnesses claimed that the men were picked up separately two weeks earlier between October 10 and 15.
According to the family members, Rasel told them that after he was picked up from his home on the morning of 10 October, he was taken to the Detective Branch office and ‘tortured for 18 days continuously.’
‘Many times I became unconscious. I cannot hold a cup in my hands now because of the beatings,’ his mother, Afroza Akhter, quoted Rasel as telling the family members when they met him in jail.
Rasel’s mother, who is a Bangladesh Nationalist Party activist, said that her son had told them that during his period of detention he was twice taken in the early morning to Hatirjheel area in Dhaka and ‘threatened with crossfire’.
She said that it was unclear from the conversation with her son whether this happened before he was presented to the media on October 26 or after.
‘He said that the second time he was taken to Hatirjheel, one of the officers told him, “Just run away, we know you are a good boy,” but Rasel just knelt down and grabbed the man’s legs and begged him,’ Afroza told New Age.
‘He said to the officer, “Sir, I am the only son in my family, whatever you want me to say I will say,”’ his mother said, recalling the conversation she had with her son in jail the previous day.
His sister, Subarna Chowdhury, who was also present during the jail visit, said that Rasel had told the family members that after this experience, he agreed to give a confessional statement.
‘Rasel then told us that he later asked the officer “What should I say? I don’t know what you want me to say?”, and the officer said, “Read this. And say this to the magistrate in your own words,” Subarna said explaining that the officer had given his brother a document to read.
Detective Branch inspector Zeahad Hossain, in charge of the investigation into the murder of the Italian citizen, dismissed both the allegations of torture and crossfire threats. ‘They are men of the BNP. Since the big fish has been caught, the families have been financed to provide such misleading information. The allegations are straightforward lies,’ he said.
Rasel Chowdhury was the last of the four men to have given a confessional statement to the magistrate.
Last week, New Age reported that Tamzid Ahmed Rubel, the first of the four men to ‘confess’ on October 26, had told his family during a jail visit the following day that he was not involved in the murder and was coerced into giving his confession to the magistrate.
The paper has also reported that witnesses confirmed that Rasel Chowdhury was picked up at about 11:00am on October 10 from his home in South Badda by inspector Zeahad Hossain.  Zeahad denies this.
The family told New Age that when they first saw him in jail on Saturday, Rasel just cried.
‘He said, “I did not ever imagine I would see you again,” Rasel’s sister described him saying.
‘We could see that his hand was seriously damaged, and one of his thumbs was useless,’ his mother said. ‘He told us that he had almost lost his feeling in his hand due to the torture.’
The family claimed that Rasel had also been mentally affected by the torture. ‘He couldn’t remember his own telephone number or even the name of this father,’ his sister, Subarna said.
‘At one time the officers told him, “If you don’t make a confessional statement, we will arrest your father and brother-in-law and strip them naked,”’ his mother said.
According to his sister, Rasel told them that at one time during his detention he was driven to the place where Cesare was murdered without a blindfold on.

One Comment

  1. Munshat Chowdhury says:

    Well awami league knows it very well who committed this. it was evident from the very beginning from their comments accusing BNP for doing this like all other cases to divert the attention of public through their loyal and powerful propaganda machine. Goebles must be turning around in his grave today in happineess!

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