Now fifty five years old, with his beard gone all grey, poor farmer Abdul Kader, whose case involving smuggling remained buried in piles of pending cases for 31 years, was acquitted by the High Court on Wednesday.
After being jailed by a trial court for five years back in March 1987, he was released on bail serving a three-year term although his appeal record shows that he was still in jail.
Then a young man, Abdul Kader from Harinchandanpur of Sharsha in Jessore had appealed with the circuit HC bench of Jessore against the verdict that also fined him Tk 5,000 for smuggling six cows into Bangladesh.
The erstwhile BDR had lodged the case after they caught Kader with six Indian cows.
For 26 years Kader thought that he had served out his sentence but the High Court in a notice in November 30, 2017 reminded and asked him to appoint a lawyer as his defender Abdul Wahab had died.
Responding to the notice, Kader turned up at the High Court and sought free legal aid service from Supreme Court legal aid office.
The legal aid office appointed a lawyer to defend Kader in the High Court that acquitted him of the charge.
A bench of Justice Quazi Reza-Ul Hoque pronounced the verdict after hearing Kader’s appeal.
The judge was annoyed by the delay in disposal of the appeal against the short sentence.
SC legal aid’s lawyer Cumar Debul Dey appeared for Kader.
An emotional Kader, talking to reporters, said he had got justice, though a belated one.
He was now free of social stigma that the lower court verdict, without proper assessment of evidence, had imposed on him, he said.