An unending wait for justice

One year after the landmark verdict in the case of Ishtiaque Hossein Jonny's custodial murder, three police officers were sentenced for life imprisonment. Things are now at an impasse.

The High Court Division has overturned the conviction and the victims' family is still waiting for justice and the compensation promised.

This was said at a discussion held yesterday by Bangladesh Legal Aid Services Trust (BLAST) to mark the one-year anniversary of the first verdict in a case of custodial deaths filed under the Torture and Custodial Death (Prevention) Act 2013.

Jonny and Imtiaz Hossain were picked up by a sub-inspector Jahidur from the capital's Pallabi Irani Camp. They also had other participants from a pre-wedding program.

After being tortured at Pallabi Police Station, Jonny eventually lost consciousness. He was then taken to a local hospital, where he later died from his injuries.

Rocky has been fighting for justice since then.

Three ex-policemen from the capital's Pallabi Police Station were sentenced to life imprisonment by the lower court. They were also ordered to compensate the complainant with Tk 2 lakh each on September 9, last year.

BLAST discussed that Zahidur Rahman, the sub-inspector accused, and Rashedul Hasan, the assistant sub-inspector, filed appeals to the High Court last summer.

Yesterday's event featured SM Rezaul Karim (BLAST's legal advisor), who spoke out to say that the verdict of life imprisonment was stayed by the HC.

Sharmin Akhter, BLAST's Barrister, stated that "Rocky" is financially disabled. They won't receive the money immediately, but the verdict has been rendered. We're considering creating a state fund to help families who have been subjected to custodial torture. The state is liable. Rocky will be entitled to compensation if we file a writ request on their behalf."

Nur Khan Liton, a rights activist, said that victims need a lot of support. They must know that they can pull through, even if it takes a long time.

Rocky, who was present at this meeting, spoke out about the harassment he continues to experience in his neighborhood.

"The space in front my car workshop was occupied very recently. There was a place where I used to park cars that were in need of repair. Although I was born in the camp, I don't have any deeds to prove it.

Justice Nizamul Haque Nasim discussed how complainants can refuse to make statements in court cases against law enforcers.

Advocate Badiuzzaman Takadar stated that after the case is closed, the law does no provide any protection for witnesses or complainants.


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