A Dhaka court on Thursday awarded death sentence to 13 people and life imprisonment to 19 others on charges of killing six students at Aminbazar on the outskirts of capital Dhaka 10 years ago.
Judge Ismat Jahan of the Second Additional District and Sessions Judge's Court acquitted 25 accused as their involvement with the incident was not proven.
On 18 July 2011, the night of Shab-e-Barat when Muslims usually stay up late to pray, a mob of villagers beat the students from different schools and colleges in Dhaka to death suspecting them as robbers.
In the early hours of 18 July 2011, the night of Shab-e-Barat when Muslims usually stay up late to pray, seven students took a trip to Bardeshi village near Aminbazar Bridge when villagers beat them mercilessly suspecting them as robbers.
Six of the students – Tipu Sultan of Tejgaon College, Towhidur Rahman Palash, Kamruzzaman Kanto and Ibrahim Khalil of Mirpur Bangla College, Shams Rahim Shamam of Maple Leaf International School, and Sitaf Jabi Munif of Bangladesh University of Business and Technology – died on the spot.
Their friend Al Amin was the lone survivor of the brutality.
The sentence was handed down yesterday in the presence of 41 accused in a packed courtroom. Sixteen other accused have been absconding since the case was filed.
The judge acquitted three other accused of the charges as they died earlier.
Death-row convicts – Abdul Malek, Saeed Member, Abdur Rasheed, Ismail Hossain, Jamsher Ali, Mir Hossain, Mojibur Rahman, Anwar Hossain, Rajjab Ali Sohag, Alam, Rana, Abdul Hamid and Aslam Mia – were also fined Tk20,000 each.
Those who were awarded life imprisonment are Shaheen Ahmed, Farid Khan, Rajib Hossain, Wasim, Sattar, Selim, Monir Hossain, Alamgir, Mubarak Hossain, Akhil Khandaker, Bashir, Rubel, Nur Islam, Shahad Hossain, Tutul, Masud, Moklesh, Totan and Saiful.
They were also fined Tk10,000 each, in default of which, they will have to spend six months more behind bars.
Public Prosecutor Sheikh Hemayet Hossain said, "We are satisfied with the verdict. We will review the verdict and if we think someone needs to be punished then we will go to the High Court."
In his reaction, defence counsel Sheikh Siraj Uddin said, "There is no eyewitness in the case; the investigating officer did not investigate the case properly and formed a charge sheet carelessly."
"The judge did not examine the witnesses properly – we will go to the High Court," he added.
Public Prosecutor Sheikh Hemayet Hossain said 92 people were named as witnesses and the judge gave the verdict after hearing 55 witnesses.
Following the Aminbazar incident, a local businessman named Malek then filed a robbery case against Al-Amin and the other victims.
A judicial inquiry later found that the victims had not been robbers.
Police then filed a case with Savar Police Station, accusing at least 500 unidentified villagers of murder.
The Rapid Action Battalion, on 13 January 2013, submitted a charge sheet mentioning 60 people in the case.
Later the same year, the court framed charges against the accused on 30 October.