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Dhaka Tribune

Saoda murder: High Court commutes convict Russell's death penalty to life imprisonment

Russell Mia was convicted by Barisal court on June 1, 2015

Update : 23 Nov 2020, 01:47 PM

The High Court has commuted the death penalty of convict Russell Mia to life imprisonment over the murder of Barisal University student Saoda Aktar Mallik in 2013.

The bench of Justice Krishna Debnath and Justice ASM Abdul Mobin reduced the death sentence on Monday after examining the death reference and hearing an appeal filed by the convict in the case.

Advocate Mohammad Shishir Monir, lawyer of the convict, confirmed the matter.

On June 1, 2015, a court in Barisal sentenced Russell to death for killing Saoda Aktar.

A second-year student of management in the Barisal University, Russell, 22, had a romantic relationship with Saoda, 19, who was a second-year student of accounting. Saoda's parents scolded her harshly after they learned about the relationship.

The girl tried to avoid Russell for a month, but he tried to restart the relationship. 

Russell hacked the girl with a sharp weapon on her way to the university on September 5, 2013. 

The victim died at the intensive care unit (ICU) of Dhaka Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) later.

Saoda's mother Shahida Begum filed a murder case with Barisal Kotwali police station accusing Russell and two to three unnamed others. 

Police arrested him in Chittagong on September 12, 2013.

During primary interrogation, Russell said Saoda's family knew about their long term relationship. They initially agreed on their marriage, but later denied and assaulted him. 

He said they also insulted members of his family citing his poor social status.

While remaining absconding, Russell once thought of committing suicide, but as time passed, his emotion ebbed away and he changed his decision to take his own life.

He said he came to justify his actions by deciding that the murder was his revenge.

On September 14, 2013, Russell gave a confessional statement before a court in Barisal about the killing.

On April 30, 2014, police submitted a charge sheet against him and he was indicted on September 25 of the same year.

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