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Kibria murder: Families still wait for justice

  • Published at 08:47 am January 27th, 2018
  • Last updated at 05:51 pm January 27th, 2018
Kibria murder: Families still wait for justice
Saturday was the 13th death anniversary of the former finance minister Shah AMS Kibria. He was killed, along with four others, in a grenade attack in Habiganj’s Boidyer Bazar on this day in 2005. At least a hundred others were also injured in the incident. The trial started nine and a half years after the murder with the filing of supplementary charge sheet, but family members are still waiting for justice. Families of the victims say they are worried they will be denied justice. Kibria was an MP from Habiganj 3 constituency when he was killed. On the same night, Awami League’s Habiganj unit former organizing secretary and incumbent General Secretary Abdul Majid Khan MP filed two cases – one over the murder, and the other under Explosives Act. The then Assistant Superintendent of Police’s Criminal Investigation Department Munshi Atikur Rahman investigated the case, and filed the first charge sheet against 10 suspects on March 20, 2005. Abdul Majid Khan, the plaintiff’s lawyer, filed a no-confidence petition against the charge sheet on May 3 the following year at Sylhet’s Speedy Trial Tribunal. He moved the High Court on May 14 after the tribunal scrapped his plea. A High Court bench then issued a ruling asking the authorities why the case cannot be probed further. The government filed a leave to appeal against the ruling on May 18, 2006, but it was scrapped by the Appellate Division. Further investigation started after the caretaker government, led by Fakhruddin Ahmed, took office. CID’s Assistant Superintendent of Police Rafiqul Islam was given the task. After a long investigation, he filed a supplementary charge sheet on June 20, 2011, implicating another 14 persons, including former state minister Lutfozzaman Babar and militant leader Mufti Hannan. Kibria’s wife Asma Kibria filed a no-confidence petition with Habiganj judicial court on June 11 that year. Judge Rajib Kumar Biswas ordered forwarding the petition to the Sylhet Speedy Trial Tribunal as the case’s main document was there. The tribunal accepted the no-confidence petition on January 5, 2012, and ordered further investigation into the incident by a senior police officer. After prolonged investigation, CID’s ASP Meherun Nesa filed the third supplementary charge sheet on November 13, 2014. She included 11 new suspects, bringing the total number of accused to 35 in the cases. The newly included accused included Sylhet Mayor Ariful Haque Chowdhury, Habiganj municipality mayor GK Gaus, BNP chief’s former political adviser Harris Chowdhury, Mufti Hannan, Mufti Taj Uddin, Mufti Shafiqur Rahman, Mohammad Ali, Badrul, Mohibur Rahman, Kajol Ahmed, and Hafez Yahya. She also requested the court to acquit Yusuf Bin Sharif, Abu Bakkar Abdul Karim and Ahsan Ullah. The murder case was transferred to Sylhet’s Speedy Trial Tribunal in June 2015. The trial has been conducted there since. Currently, witness deposition is going on. So far, depositions of 43 witnesses have been recorded. The case filed under the Explosives Act is being heard by a Habiganj court. Families of the victims are yet to get justice even though 13 years have gone by. Many have expressed doubt about whether the murder trial will finish within the government’s tenure. Kuddus Mia, whose father Siddik Ali was killed along with Kibria, said: “If the murder trial is not finished within this government’s tenure, I doubt it will ever be.” He demanded the case is resolved quickly. Asia Khatun, the wife of Abdur Rahim who also died in the attack, said that only the charge sheet was changed. “I doubt whether the trial will finish,” she said. “We are worried about getting justice.” Victim Abdur Rahim’s daughter Parul Akter Champa was similarly frustrated at the lengthy trial process. Habiganj 3 MP Md Abu Zahir, who was also injured in the grenade attack, hoped that the murder trial would be wrapped up within the incumbent government’s term. “I hope those involved with the incident would be given exemplary punishment,” he said. The case’s plaintiff and Habiganj 2 MP Abdul Majid Khan said the Awami League government had found out the real perpetrators and put them on trial, and hoped that the trial would end soon. Kishor Kumar Kar, the public prosecutor of Sylhet Speedy Trial Tribunal said February 13 had been fixed as the next date for witness deposition. “So far, 43 out of 171 witnesses have testified. Three of the case’s accused have been executed in another case,” he said. “Of the rest, 12 are out on bail, 10 are in jail and seven others are absconding. We hope the trial proceedings will be completed quickly.”
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