A Dhaka court has handed down life imprisonment to a woman, Nourin Jahan Nodi, in a case filed for torturing an 11-year-old domestic help and dumping her in a dustbin assuming her dead in Dhaka in 2013.
After examining 14 witnesses, Judge Jayasri Samaddar of Dhaka Women and Children Repression Prevention Tribunal-3 delivered the verdict on Tuesday.
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Photo: Syed Zakir Hossain
The court also fined the convict Tk1 lakh, in default of which she will have to serve one additional year in jail.
The trial court, however, acquitted another accused, Nodi’s mother Israt Jahan, of the charge as allegations brought against her were not proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
Israt was on bail, while Nodi has been in jail for nearly four years. They both appeared before the court when the judge was announcing the judgment. After hearing the verdict, Nodi burst into tears in the courtroom.
Victim still haunted by ordeals
Four years on, victim Aduri still remains haunted by the abuse she suffered at the hands of her employer.
Speaking to the Dhaka Tribune, Aduri, now 15, said: “I still see her [Nodi] in my nightmares. All of it comes back when I go to sleep.
“I am still bearing the brunt of torture. I wake up at night and scream due to the physical and physiological pains I received. Doctors suggested I have surgery, but I could not do it because of lack of money.”
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She now lives with her family at their Patuakhali home and studies at a local madrasa there. Aduri travelled to Dhaka for the verdict, over which she expressed satisfaction.
Her uncle Nazrul Islam Chowdhury, who filed the case with Pallabi police station, alleged: “The accused pressured us to withdraw the case and to go for an out-of-court settlement. But we did not do so. The media helped us a lot.”
Bangladesh National Women Lawyers Association (BNWLA) provided legal assistance to her family. BNWLA Executive Director Salma Ali was present at the court and said they were, too, satisfied with the verdict.
Riddled with injuries and scars all over her body, Aduri was found unconscious in a severely malnourished state near the dustbin at DOHS Baridhara on September 23, 2013, according to the case statement.
She had been at Dhaka Medical College Hospital for treatment for around two months and had returned home on November 17, 2013.
The incident caused a huge outcry across the country at the time, and people, particularly rights activists, demanded stern punishment for the assaulters involved.
Defence counsel Saifur Rahman Islam said: “We have been deprived of justice. We will appeal to the High Court against the judgment.”
Nodi in her October 2013 confessional statement said her husband Saiful Islam Masud brought Aduri to their residence to work as a domestic help in December, 2012.
Nodi, whose conjugal relations were degrading over financial crisis, confessed to torturing Aduri and accused her husband of beating her over trifle matters.
Pallabi police station Sub-inspector Queen Akhter, also investigation officer of the case, submitted a charge sheet in the case on October 10, 2013.