A Brahmanbaria court has sentenced four men to death for the gruesome murder of a Dhaka businessman.
Brahmanbaria District and Sessions Judge Mohammad Safiul Azam announced the verdict on Monday.
Those sentenced are: Md Nuru Mia, Md Ziaul Haque, Lokman Khan, and Md Qadir Hossain. Only Ziaul Haque was present in the court when the verdict was announced, while the remaining accused are absconding.
According to court sources, Abdul Hannan Bahar, 45, owned a cosmetics and imitation jewellery business in Chawkbazar, Dhaka. Shopkeepers from around the country bought goods from Bahar's shop and, every year, after Eid, he would return to Dhaka and collect shopkeepers' arrears.
On 4 August, 2014, Bahar went to collect money in the Bangara area of Muradnagar upazila of Comilla district, from a wholesaler named Lokman.
The accused in the case told the police that Lokman took Bahar in an engine boat, saying he would show him around the area. Lokman then trapped Bahar on the boat and demanded ransom from his hostage's relatives. The accused tied Bahar's hands and feet, held him from August 4 to August 6, and tortured him.
After receiving some money, Lokman threatened to kill Bahar, unless he received extra money. At around 9:30 pm on August 6, Lokman ensured Bahar was dead by throwing him into the Titas River, opposite the Ujanchar Launch Ghat of Bancharampur upazila of Brahmanbaria district. Police recovered Bahar's body from the river at around 3 pm on August 8.
On August 9, Bahar's younger brother Belal Hossain filed a murder case at Bancharampur Model Police Station in connection with the murder. The investigating officer submitted a charge sheet against Lokman on November 10 of that year.
Expressing his satisfaction over the case's verdict, the prosecutor SM Yousaf said that justice was served.
However, the lawyer for the accused, Jasim Uddin Ahmed, said, "I think the verdict is incorrect. We will appeal to the High Court."