The punishment of Oyshee Rahman for killing both of her parents back in 2013 was commuted from death sentence to life imprisonment considering a number of variables including severe psychological disorder the girl was suffering from, the High Court has said.
On August 16, 2013, the bodies of Special Branch (SB) inspector Mahfuzur Rahman and his wife Swapna Rahman were recovered from their Chamelibagh residence in Dhaka. Oyshee had surrendered to police two days after the killings and confessed to her involvement.
A Dhaka court on November 12, 2015 sentenced her to death terming the murders premeditated. It had also fined her Tk 20,000.
But on June 5, the High Court bench of Justice Jahangir Hossain and Justice Md Jahangir Hossain commuted her sentence to life in jail, citing a lack of motive, her physical ailments and mental disorder, a lack of prior criminal records and her surrender to police as reasons.
The full text of that verdict was published on the Supreme Court’s website on Sunday after both justices signed it.
The court in the judgment observed that the death sentence was not the only exemplary punishment that can erase crimes from the society forever. “Lesser punishments may significantly prevent or reduce the crimes from the society depending on the good governance and awareness of the people.”
According to the 78-page verdict, one of the major issues the judges considered in commuting Oyshee’s sentence was that she killed her parents without any apparent motive while suffering from some sort of mental disorder.
Her paternal grandmother and maternal uncle also had history of such disorders, according her family’s medical records. She was suffering from ovarian cyst and bronchial asthma too at the time, said the court.
It observed that Oyshee was only 19 and had just become an adult when she lost her ways and murdered her parents.
The court also considered the fact that Oyshee has no significant criminal history and had willingly surrendered to police after committing the crime.
It found that the girl was suffering from personality disorder, conduct disorder [before the age of 18 years], and mental and behavioural disorders due to use of psychoactive substances, including tobacco, shisha, alcohol, yaba and cannabis.
A three member medical board had also found her as anxious, restless, perplexed and hopeless before she surrendered to police. “They also found her personality problems still persisting from possible mental condition after the incident.”
The court cited that they had summoned Oyshee from the prison and talked to her to assess her mental health during the trial.
It was found that her mind was not in a position to ponder about the killing of her parents by her own hands and the consequences of her actions, said the verdict.
“In such a situation how far is it justifiable for gallows to be imposed on her?” the court asked.
Also Read- High Court commutes Oishee’s death sentence
However, with the release of the full verdict, Oyshee now will be able to move the Appellate Division challenging the judgment if she wants.
Less caring parents and drugs
The High Court also observed in the verdict that Oyshee’s police official father and mother who worked in multilevel marketing company Destiny were too busy with their jobs, and did not spend enough time with Oyshee when she needed them most during her childhood and teenage years.
When they realised their mistake, her life had already been ruined by addiction and other things, said the court.
It said her problems had started to show first in 2009 when she was a sixth grader. The problems included lack of interest in studies, daily life activities and school, breaking family rules, smoking, poor concentration, irritability, stealing money from home.
Oyshee had even tried to commit suicide twice in 2009 and again once in 2012. “She even got suicidal thought and ideas in jail,” said the court.
It said her “substance misuse behaviour remarkably started when she was a student of class IV or V” and that gradually increased when she was in eighth grade in 2011.
The High Court also observed that parents are the only teachers at the beginning of their children’s early lives. They should encourage their children to do the right thing, provide them with a good environment and family atmosphere to grow up, and stop them from making the wrong calls.
Citing Oyshee’s case as an example, the court said that parents should spend adequate amount of time with the children to make sure their better upbringing.