The gruesome killing of Sonagazi Madrasa student Nusrat Jahan Rafi has shaken the conscience of humanity, said Judge Mamunur Rashid in his observation while passing the verdict in the sensational murder case.
Nusrat's sacrifice to protect the dignity of womanhood has made her immortal – an inspiration to the next generations, said the judge.
On Thursday, the Women and Children Repression Prevention Tribunal in Feni sentenced all the 16 accused to death for killing Nusrat by setting her on fire in April this year.
The judge also said the audacity of the convicts will keep humanity abashed for ages; therefore, they deserve the highest punishment.
The court in its observation also rebuked suspended Sonagazi officer-in-charge Moazzem Hossain for failure to carry out his professional responsibilities properly.
Nusrat was set on fire for refusing to withdraw a case she had filed against her madrasa principal Siraj Ud Doula who has sexually assaulted her in March. She was burnt only a few minutes before the Alim exams began on April 6.
She suffered burns over 80% of her body, and died four days later on April 10 at the Dhaka Medical College and Hospital.
What did the convicts say?
Most of the accused became furious after the verdict was announced, and threatened Nusrat's father in front of the court.
One of the convicts – Afsar Uddin – insulted the court while being escorted out of the courtroom.
He came down hard on the court and the media for "siding" with Nusrat.
He questioned why CCTV footage had not been produced as evidence at court.
However, The Business Standard correspondent had earlier talked to the current principal of the madrasa Maulana Mohammed Hossain, who told him that the CCTV camera were installed in the madrasa after the murder took place.
Echoing Afsar, another convict Hafez Abdul Quader said the verdict was unjust.
The prime accused in the case and the mastermind of Nusrat's murder, Siraj-ud-Doula, despite being untroubled in his prison cell and while entering the court premises, cried as he was led out of the courtroom after the verdict.
One of the two females accused in the case, Kamrun Nahar Moni, brought along her two-month-old infant to the court and held the child in her arms while the verdict was given.
After the verdict, the convicts can now file appeals at the High Court within seven days.