The High Court has acquitted three convicts sentenced to death in a lower court for abducting and killing Md Hridoy Moni, a six-year-old boy and student of Cox's Bazar Sadar Haji Hasan Ali Government Primary School.
The acquitted are Abdul Khaleq, Shukur Mia and Bahadur Mia. Among them, Abdul Khaleq and Shukur Mia are citizens of Myanmar.
Lawyers for the defendants said, they were acquitted after it was proved in the High Court (HC) that the accused had confessed following a period of police torture.
An HC bench of Justice Krishna Debnath and Justice ASM Abdul Mobin passed the order on Monday.
The bench rejected the death reference sent for approval by the lower court in favor of the death sentence, and granted the appeal of the imprisoned accused.
Mohammad Shishir Monir, Abdus Salam Mamun, Md Asad Uddin, Mohammad Nawab Ali and Shahnaz Haque (state appointed) represented the accused, and Deputy Attorney General Shaheen Ahmed Khan represented the state.
After the verdict, Shishir Monir said, "I have presented my statement on the inconsistent evidence of the prosecution. Accused Abdul Khaleq and Bahadur were present in the magistrate's room at the same time while providing their confessional statements. Therefore, this confessional statement cannot be considered as a legally binding statement."
Monir continued. "We were able to prove in the court that the accused were forced to confess in court following torture by the police. As a result, the HC acquitted them."
According to the case statement, Md Hridoy was abducted on 4 July 2013, on his way back home after school. The kidnappers demanded a ransom of Tk3 lakh from Nurul Alam, Hridoy's father.
A rickshaw puller named Jasim was caught while collecting the ransom money.
According to Jasim, Burmaiaya Yasin, Md Alam, Md Ali Munna and Md Masum had sent him to retrieve the money.
The next morning, Hridoy's dead body was found on the beach behind Hotel Ocean Paradise.
On 6 July 2013, Hridoy's father had filed a case against rickshaw puller Jasim and four others. After the investigation, police filed a charge sheet on 20 April 2014 against Jasim, while the other accused were excluded.
Along with Jasim, Abdul Khaleq, Shukur Mia and rickshaw puller Bahadur were also charged for the murder.
Accused Abdul Khaleq and Bahadur Mia gave confessional statements in the Judicial Magistrate's Court.
After hearing his testimony in the case, the Cox's Bazar Sessions Judge acquitted Jasim on 7 June 2015. The other three accused, Abdul Khaleq, Shukur Mia and Bahadur were sentenced to death.
Later, as per the rules, the death reference arrived in the HC. In the interim, the accused made jail appeals and regular appeals.