4 yrs after Ekram murder in Feni, 17 convicts still at large

21 May 2018 bdnews24.com

Fours years into the killing of Fulgazi Upazila Chairman Ekramul Haque Ekram, law-enforcement agencies have yet to arrest 17 people convicted of their roles in the murder in Feni.
Ekram's family expressed frustrations that those currently in prison following the trial court verdict have not had their appeals heard by the High Court. Although some of the perpetrators have received the verdict they deserved, the mastermind behind the attack has yet to be caught, Ekram's brother Mozammel toldbdnews24.com. He urged the government to ensure that those sentenced to capital punishment are not granted mercy by the High Court. Ekram, the then Fulgazi Upazila chairman and Awami League president, was hacked and shot to death in broad daylight in Feni on May 20, 2014. On Mar 13 this year, Feni Sessions Judge Aminul Haque sentenced 39 to death in the case filed by Ekram's elder brother Rezaul Haque Jasim. Another 16 accused in the case, including BNP leader Mahtab Uddin Ahmed Chowdhury Minar, were acquitted.
Among those sentenced to death, 22 are in prison, eight fled after receiving bail and nine have been absconding from the beginning of the case. Those sentenced to death but now at large include Zahid Hossain Jihad, joint general secretary of Fulgazi Upazila wing of Awami League, Abidul Islam Abid, Chowdhury Md Nafiz Uddin Anik, Arman Hosen Kausar, Zahedul Hashem Saikat, Ziaur Rahman Bappi, Jasim Uddin Nayan, Emran Hossain Russel, Rahat Md Irfan, alais Azad,  Ekram Hossain alias Akram, Shafiqur Rahman alias Moyna, Kafil Uddin Mahmud Abir, Mosleh Uddin Asif, Ismail Hossain Chhuttu, Mahiuddin Anis, Bablu and Titu, said the defendants' lawyer Ahsan Kabir Bengal. Locals believe Zahid Hossain Jihad and Abidul Islam Abid who were directly involved in the killing, have escaped abroad.
However, police have no information regarding their whereabouts, said Rashed Khan Chowdhury, Officer in Charge of Feni Model Police Station. Police are looking for those absconding and they will be arrested soon, he toldbdnews24.com. The death reference documents were sent to the High Court within 72 hours of the verdict on Mar 13. An appeal hearing will take place once a paper book is prepared based on the documents. The verdict stated Ekram was killed due to his political feud over local elections.
Ekram's family has doubts over whether the trial court's sentence will be implemented as hearing dates have not been fixed in the High Court, even after two months. Ekram's brother Jasim had filed a murder case on May 20, 2014 accusing BNP leader Minar, Ekram's opponent in the Upazila Parishad election and 35 other unidentified persons. Investigation Officer Abul Kalam Azad submitted the charge sheet accusing 56 persons on Aug 28 of the same year.
The court received the chargesheet after three hearing sessions and the trial began on Mar 15, 2016. Police and the Rapid Action Battalion or RAB arrested 44 persons, nine of whom got bail. One prominent suspect in the case Sohel died in a 'shootout' with RAB. At least 15 of the arrested had confessed to the crime and gave statements under section 164 of the Penal Code. At least 50 witnesses, including Ekram's elder brother Rezaul Haque Jasim, younger brother Ehsanul Haque, his wife Tasmin Akter and driver Abdullah Al Mamun testified before the court.

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