A Chattogram court on Tuesday ordered the release of Hasina Begum, a woman from Cox's Bazar who has been in jail for the last 16 months after police arrested her instead of one Hasina Akhter with the same first name.
Chattogram Metropolitan Fourth Additional Sessions Judge, Shariful Alam Bhuiyan, issued the release order after a virtual hearing. Hasina Begum's lawyer, Advocate Golam Maula Murad, confirmed the matter.
He said the Chattogram jail authorities submitted a report to the court on Tuesday following a court order for investigating the matter. In the report, the jail authorities said that Hasina Akhter and Hasina Begum are not the same accused persons.
After the hearing, the court ordered the release of Hasina Begum.
According to court sources, Hasina Akhter, from the Teknaf area of Cox's Bazar, was sentenced to six years in prison in a drug case, but Hasina Begum of the same area has been serving her sentence for the last 16 months and 20 days.
Advocate Golam Maula Murad brought the matter to the notice of a court in Chattogram last March. The court then asked the police to investigate the matter and submit a report.
The police report submitted to the court reads, "Hasina Begum, who is currently in jail, cannot be presumed to be the accused who was arrested earlier. Hasina Begum is 40 years old, but Hasina Akhter is 30. Hasina Begum, who is currently in jail, could not be fully investigated as her husband is absconding."
The report also said that there is no similarity in the photos of Hasina Akhter and Hasina Begum. Moreover, Hasina Akhter was arrested with her four-year-old son and two-year-old daughter, but the report shows that Hasina Begum has three children.
Advocate Golam Mawla Murad said that on 24 February 2017, Hasina Akhter of Chowdhurypara in Teknaf, and her husband, were arrested from the Karnaphuli area of Chattogram with 20,000 pieces of yaba. She was released on bail after nine months of imprisonment and was sentenced to seven years in prison in July 2019 when she became a fugitive.
Then on 16 December 2019, Teknaf police arrested another woman named Hasina Begum from the same area. Hasina Begum was later sent to jail on a court order and has since then been in prison for almost a year and a half.
The husbands of both Hasina Akhter and Hasina Begum go by the name of Hamid Hossain.