• Sunday, Oct 25, 2020
  • Last Update : 02:47 pm

Tavella murder trial in limbo, five years on

  • Published at 07:43 pm September 27th, 2020
File photo of Cesare Tavella

The Italian citizen was gunned down in the capital’s Gulshan diplomatic zone in 2015

The trial of the case for the murder of Italian citizen Cesare Tavella is yet to see conclusion.

Five years have passed but the trial is yet to be completed in the case lodged for the murder of Italian national Cesare Tavella. 

The 50-year-old aid worker was shot dead in Dhaka’s Gulshan diplomatic zone on the evening of September 28, 2015.

The much talked about case is still pending with Dhaka metropolitan sessions judge’s court as it’s yet to finish hearing testimony of prosecution witnesses.

The Italian was the project manager of Profitable Opportunities for Food Security, a programme of ICCO Cooperation, a Netherlands-based NGO. Forensic experts said he was shot thrice from behind at close range.

The murder happened only two days after the Australian cricket team decided to delay its tour to Bangladesh after their government warned of possible militant attacks on ‘Australian interests.’

Australia, the UK, and the US, also claimed to have received information that militants might target their interests in Bangladesh and advised their citizens to limit their movements in the country.

In June 2016, police filed the chargesheet in court naming seven people, including former BNP ward commissioner MA Qaium, and his brother MA Matin.

The other five are, Tamjid Ahmed alias Rubel, Russel Chowdhury, Minhajul Arefin alias Bhaigna Russel, Sakhawat Hossain, and Bhangari Sohel.

The trial kicked off in October the same year after a Dhaka court indicted them. But nearly four years later, the court is yet to finish hearing testimonies of the prosecution witnesses.

Court officials said 39 out of 71 witnesses have so far testified in court, with the latest hearing held on September 22. The court has set October 14 for the next hearing.

“The trial was supposed to be finished early this year but the Covid-19 pandemic delayed it,” Additional Public Prosecutor Taposh Kumar Pal told Dhaka Tribune.

According to the charge sheet, Qaiyum, who was the convener of BNP’s Dhaka metro unit, had planned the murder as part of a conspiracy to create anarchy in the country, put pressure on the government, and to send a message to foreigners that they were not safe in Bangladesh.

Investigators say that Qayum’s brother Matin arranged the whole thing, hiring three hitmen to kill a “white guy” (foreigner), and Tavella became their prey. Sohel supplied the firearms while Sharif provided the motorcycle used in the killing.

Of the accused, Qaium and Sohel are being tried as fugitives while Matin is out on bail, and the rest are in jail.

After the murder, Middle East-based Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, according to US-based SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadist activities worldwide.

The claims, however, were rejected by the Bangladesh government.

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