In the much-discussed murder case of Rifat Sharif in Barguna, documents relating to the death references (permissions for death sentences) of six convicts, including the deceased's wife Ayesha Siddique Minni, have arrived in the High Court (HC).
On Sunday, Jahangir Alam Piku, the jarikarok (court's office assistant) of the Barguna court, brought the document – which is more than 400 pages – and a copy of the verdict to the HC.
Barrister Mohammad Saifur Rahman, special officer of the Supreme Court, confirmed the matter on Sunday.
As per the procedures, all proceedings in a case are referred to the HC – for approval of the death penalty. The accused will be able to appeal within seven days after the verdict arrives in the HC.
The death sentence of a convict in a judicial court requires the permission of the HC before it is executed, this is known as a death reference. However, the convicts will have the opportunity to appeal against the verdict of the trial court.
After receiving the document, the Death Reference Branch of the HC examines and prepares a paper book of the case. Once the paper book is prepared, the case is presumed to be ready for a hearing. However, in some cases, the paper book is prepared on a priority basis under the direction of the chief justice.
The other five convicts sentenced to death are: Rakibul Hasan Rifat Faraji, 23, Al Qayyum alias Rabbi Akon, 21, Mohaiminul Islam alias Sifat, 19, Rezwan Ali Khan alias Tiktak Hridoy, 22, and Mohammad Hasan, 19.
Barguna District and Sessions Judge Mohammad Asaduzzaman announced the verdict in the case on September 30. Out of the 10 adult convicts, six were sentenced to death, including Minni. The remaining four accused were acquitted as the allegations were not proven.
On June 26 last year, Shah Nawaz Rifat was brutally stabbed in front of Barguna Government College. Later, he died at the hospital. The next day, Rifat's father Dulal Sharif filed a murder case against 13 people with Barguna Police Station. Rifat's wife Minni was made the prime witness in the case.
Meanwhile, on July 2, Sabbir Ahmed alias Nayan Bond, the main suspect in the case, was killed in a "gunfight" with police. On July 17 last year, 20 days after the murder, Minni was taken to Barguna Police Line for questioning. After interrogation, the police arrested Minni on the same night as it appeared that she was involved in the murder.
The investigating officer issued a charge sheet on September 1 last year accusing 24 people in the Rifat murder case. Of these, 10 are adults and 14 are children.
An appeal is being prepared in the HC against the death sentence given to Ayesha Siddika Minni.
Minni's lawyer, Makkia Fatema, told The Business Standard, "On Sunday [October 4] morning, Minni's father Mozammel Hossain handed us a certified copy of the verdict in the juvenile case. We are preparing an appeal. An appeal will be filed in the relevant branch of the HC on Monday [October 5].