Eight militants handed death sentences over the 2015 killing
Defence counsel ABM Khairul Islam in the publisher Foisal Arefin Dipon murder case said they were dissatisfied with the verdict that handed down death sentence to eight militants as there was no eyewitness to the killing.
In his reaction to the verdict delivered on Wednesday afternoon, the lawyer told reporters that the court sentenced capital punishment for all the fugitives and indicted in the case, without any witness account.
"No one saw it [the attack]. There was neither any witness [during the trial proceedings] nor anyone present at the crime scene," he said, reports Bangla Tribune.
However, the court pronounced its verdict just based on the confessional statement of the accused, the defence lawyer alleged.
Expressing his dissatisfaction, Khairul added: "We will move the High Court against the judgment."
The court, he said, in its observation also said all the accused confessed to the crime under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, based on which the verdict was given.
"The main point is that the accused were forced to confess to the crime in line with exactly what they were told to, after being incarcerated for a long time," he said.
Another defence counsel M Nazrul Islam, echoing a similar sentiment, said all has the right to move the High Court.
"A (lower) court can pronounce its verdict.... But, we want justice for the convicts," he concluded.
Earlier in the day, Judge Md Majibur Rahman of the Anti-Terrorism Special Tribunal in Dhaka gave the verdict, also slapping the eight convicts with a Tk50,000 fine each.
Jagriti Prokashoni Publisher Dipon was brutally hacked to death at his Aziz Super Market office on October 31, 2015. His wife Dr Razia Rahman broke down in tears after hearing the verdict.
Dr Razia Rahman filed the murder case on November 2, 2015, against unidentified assailants.
On October 13, 2019, the court indicted the eight militants in the case filed at Shahbagh police station.
Among the eight, Abdus Sabur alias Abdus Samad alias Sujon; top Ansar al-Islam operatives Khairul Islam alias Jamil alias Jisan; Sheikh Abdullah alias Jubayer alias Jayed; Abu Siddique Sohel alias Sajid alias Sihab; and Mozammel Hossain alias Saimon are now in jail.
Two of the accused – sacked army major Syed Ziaul Haque Zia, and Akram Hossain alias Hasib – are still on the run.
A total of 22 out of 26 prosecution witnesses testified before the court during the trial.
Dipon’s publishing house had published a book written by writer-blogger Avijit Roy, who was also hacked to death by the militants on Dhaka University campus on February 26, 2015.