The Supreme Court has acquitted two death-row convicts, Ismail Hossain Babu and Sonaruddi, who had been in the condemned cell for nearly 14 years in a Rajshahi double murder case.
The apex court also commuted the death sentence of another convict, Tariqul Islam, to life imprisonment in the same case.
A three-member bench of the Appellate Division, headed by Chief Justice Hasan Foez Siddique, pronounced the verdict on Thursday, disposing of regular appeals and jail appeals in the case.
Lawyer SM Shahjahan represented the accused Ismail Hossain in the court, while lawyer Helal Uddin Mollah moved for Sonaruddi and lawyer SM Box Kallol moved for Tariqul. Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Bashir Ahmed represented the state.
DAG Bashir Ahmed told The Business Standard that a review petition would be filed against the Appellate Division verdict, which is allowed by the law within 30 days of the publication of the full verdict.
Bashir Ahmed said, "Of the convicts, only Tariqul gave confessional statements. Therefore, the court disposed of his appeal and commuted his death sentence to life imprisonment considering his long stay in the condemned cell."
"The Appellate Division said in its judgment that the other two convicts did not give confessional statements. The evidence and testimonies recorded in the case failed to prove their involvement in the crime," he said.
According to the case documents, Miliara Khatun alias Roksana, 30, wife of a Saudi expatriate Md Bazlur Rahman from Dhuarapara area under Godagari upazila of Rajshahi, and her nine-year-old daughter Parvin alias Sabnur were killed by miscreants on 20 October 2006.
The following day, Milliara's father Rafiqul Islam lodged a murder case with the Godagari police station.
After a two-year trial, on 23 July 2008, a speedy-trial tribunal in Rajshahi awarded the death sentence to four people – Sonauddi, Ismail Hossain, Tariqul Islam and Md Mokhtar – in the case.
Of the convicts, Md Mokhtar is absconding and the other three death-row convicts were serving time in the condemned cells.
Later, they filed separate appeals against the lower court verdict.