The death reference of 16 death-row convicts in the Feni madrassah student Nusrat Jahan Rafi’s murder case has been awaiting a High Court hearing since January 30, when the case was ready for the session.
Appeals filed by all the convicts against sentences are also pending for a High Court hearing as no bench has been assigned to hear and dispose of the sensational murder case.
Nusrat died four days after she was set on fire on April 6, 2019 by her classmates on orders from her madrassah principal Sirajuddoula at her Alim examination centre at the Sonagazi Senior Islamia Fazil Madrassah.
Daughter of AKM Musa of Uttar Charchandia in Sonagazi, Nusrat, 18, was an Alim examinee from Sonagazi Senior Fazil Madrassah.
Nusrat was murdered as she refused to withdraw the case filed by her mother with Sonagazi police station on March 27, 2019 against Sirajuddoula for sexually harassing her.
On October 24, 2019 Feni Women and Children Repression Prevention Tribunal sentenced all the 16 accused to death for killing Nusrat.
On October 29, 2019 the High Court received the death reference and the paper book of the case was completed on a priority basis on January 30 so it could be disposed of expeditiously.
The chief justice on March 1 assigned HC bench of Justice Soumendra Sarker and Justice Sahed Nuruddin for hearing the death reference and the appeals.
A court official told New Age that Justice Soumendra Sarker returned the case to the Death References’ Section on Thursday as his court has no power to hear death references according to reconstruction of benches after the closure of the court for 140 days due to the COVID 19 epidemic.
‘We will place the files to the chief justice for assigning another bench,’ he said.
The High Court resumed regular activities on August 12 after 140 days of the closure due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Deputy attorney general Bashir Ahmed said that the matter was not heard by the bench of Justice Soumendra Sarker and Justice Shahed Nuruddin as the case was posted on the bottom of the list of cases for hearing.
He said that the High Court resumed operation in both ways —physically and online — after 140 days, on August 12 and the case would be heard after the chief justice assigned a High Court bench.
Public holiday from March 25 due to COVID-19 delayed the hearing, said Bashir, who was assigned as state law officer to appear in the case on behalf of Nusrat.
The convicts are Sonagazi Senior Islamia Fazil Madrassah principal SM Sirajuddoula, 57, Sonagazi upazila unit Awami League’s former president Ruhul Amin, 55, Sonagazi municipality AL’s former joint general secretary Maksud Alam alias Moksud, 50, teachers of the madrassah Abdul Quader, 25, and Absar Uddin, 33, Nusrat’s
classmates Umme Sultana Popy, 19, and Kamrunnahar Moni, 19, and former and present students of the madrassah Shahadat Hossain Shamim, 20, Nur Uddin, 20, Imran Hossain Mamun, 22, Iftekhar Uddin Rana, 22, Saifur Rahman Mohammad Zobair, 21, Javed Hossain alias Sakhawat Hossain Javed, 19, Mohiuddin Shakil, 20, Mohammad Shamim, 20, and Abdur Rahim Sharif, 20.
All the convicts are from different areas of Sonagazi upazila in Feni district.
Besides, the Cyber Tribunal in Dhaka on November 28, 2019 jailed former Sonagazi police station officer-in-charge Moazzem Hossain for eight years with a fine of Tk 10 lakh under the Digital Security Act for illegally recording and sharing video clip of Nusrat Jahan Rafi in March 27, 2019 when she went to the police station with her mother to file a case against principal Sirajuddoula.
The appeal of OC Moazzem, who is now in jail, against his sentence was also pending with the High Court.
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