A Feni court on Tuesday sentenced 39 people, including Awami League leaders Jahid Chowdhury and Jahangir Adel, to death in the sensational Fulgazi upazila chairman Ekramul Haque murder case.
Judge Aminul Haque of District and Sessions Judge Court pronounced the verdict in a crowded courtroom around 3:30pm in presence of 36 out of 56 charge-sheeted accused in the case.
Nineteen other accused named in the charge sheet are on the run while the remaining one was killed in a gunfight with law enforcers.
The court also acquitted 16 accused, including BNP leader Mahtab Uddin Chowdhury Minar as the prosecution could not prove the charges against them.
Fifteen others acquitted of the charge are Ziaul Alam Mister, Abdur Rahman Rouf, Haji Belayet Hossain Patwary, Paban, Ripon, Iqbal Hossain, Shariful Jamil Palash, Kala Mia, Yunus Bhuiyan Shamim, Alamgir, Quader, Faruk, Zahid, Md. Masud and Shakhawat Hossain.They all are the leaders and activists of ruling AL and its wing organisations.
Expressing satisfaction over the verdict, Ekramul’s wife Tasmin told journalists: “We now want quick execution of the verdict against the convicts.”
Public prosecutor Hafez Ahmed hopes that the High Court will uphold the lower court judgment. “The verdict will help remove fear and helplessness among people,” he added.
On February 13, the court set March 13 for delivery of the judgment on completion of arguments of both the prosecution and defence sides in the murder case.
A total of 50 out of 59 prosecution witnesses testified before the court on different dates during the trial proceedings.
On November 12, 2014, the court framed charges against 56 people in the case. Of the accused, 55 belong to ruling Awami League and its associated bodies.
Sub-Inspector Abul Kalam Azad, also the investigation officer (IO) of the case, submitted a charge sheet to the court against them on August 28, 2014.
Sixteen out of about 45 arrested accused in the case made confessional statements before court.
According to the case details, Fulgazi upazila chairman Ekramul Haque, 45, also the president of Awami League upazila unit, was shot and burnt to death in his car near Bilashi Cinema Hall in the district town on May 20, 2014.
Ekramul came under attack while he was going to Fulgazi upazila parishad office from his Masterpara residence in Feni town around 10:30am on the day.
Victim’s brother Rezaul Haque Jasim filed a murder case against 30-35 people, including local BNP leader Minar Chowdhury, with Feni Model Police Station after the killing.