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Accused declared not guilty 22 years after Dhaka University teacher murder

  • Published at 02:23 am August 2nd, 2018
Nuban Ahmed
Dhaka University (DU) economics teacher Nuban Ahmed Courtesy

On June 5, Dhaka First Additional Metropolitan Session’s Judge Md Al-Mamun delivered the judgement in the case. The verdict was officially signed on Sunday

More than 22 years after the murder of Dhaka University (DU) economics teacher Nuban Ahmed and 16 years after the murder case trial, a Dhaka court has declared all three accused not guilty.

On June 5, Dhaka First Additional Metropolitan Session’s Judge Md Al-Mamun delivered the judgement in the case. The verdict was officially signed on Sunday.

The court acquitted Nuban’s colleague AKM Morshed, his wife Kazi Sohana Naznin Lipi and her alleged boyfriend Mahaiminur Rahman Milton after deciding the police evidence and witnesses’ testimony could not prove the accusations against them beyond reasonable doubt. 

All three have been in hiding abroad since Nuban Ahmed died at Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) on December 26, 1995, nine days after he was stabbed by unknown assailants by the parliament building in Dhaka. 

According to the court, the investigations into his killing were “insufficient”, as the prosecution failed to produce the right witnesses.

“The killing of a university teacher at the hands of criminals is unacceptable,” the court said. “But getting no justice for the act is unfortunate.”

The investigation revealed that none of the witnesses in the case, including Nuban’s own mother and sister, had directly accused those charged with the murder. The state counsels had also failed to produce further witnesses.

“The court has to determine the verdict depending upon the testimonies provided by witnesses from both parties,” First Additional Metropolitan Session Judge Al-Mamun said. “If the accusations are not proved beyond reasonable doubt, we cannot sentence anyone.”

Nuban’s sister, Asfia Sabina, claimed their family had not been made aware of the case verdict. “We assumed such a thing would happen,” she said. “We have been saying from the beginning the police investigation was faulty.”

Md Shahabuddin Ahmed, additional public prosecutor for the case, also said he had been left in the dark over the verdict delivery. 

 “Nuban’s family members, as well as the prosecution team, lost track of the trial process because the proceedings took such a long time,” he said. 

According to the case statement filed by Nuban’s father-in-law Kazi Shamsul Huda, Nuban had left his home in Mohammadpur on the day of his assault to go to the Colour Museum at Asad Gate, where he intended to have his camera’s lenses cleaned. 

Later, unknown assailants hacked Nuban and dumped his lifeless body in a field to the eastern side of the South Plaza of the parliament building, where he was found by Tejgaon police at around 7pm.

Nuban’s wife, Lipi, and his father-in-law rushed to the hospital upon hearing the news.

After the killing, Lipi married Milton and, without her family’s consent, went to the USA and never came back. Morshed won a scholarship at a US university and also left the country.

Two police officers led the investigations into the case before a third, Mohammad Aminul Islam, assistant police superintendent of the CID, finally submitted a charge sheet on July 1, 2002. In it, he accused Nuban’s wife Lipi, Milton, and Morshed of the crime.

Nuban’s father-in-law and his mother-in-law, Meherunnesa, were both listed among nine prosecution witnesses but neither implicated their daughter or the two other prime accused in their depositions.

According to the case dockets, the accused never appeared before the court. A further suspect, KM Alamgir of Jajira of Shariyatpur, was arrested but was later dropped from the charge sheet.

Nuban’s family suspect the DU teacher was killed because he stood against corruption in his department and against corrupted student politics. Allegedly, the group of corrupted students and teachers that Nuban took a stand against had pro-Jamaat support.

After Nuban gave a statement against them before a university probe committee, his colleagues from the Department of Economics were suspended due to corruption. 

Nuban’s father, Dr Sirajul Islam, was also a Dhaka University teacher. Nuban’s sister, Asfia Sabina, claimed that when he was a faculty member, allegations of question paper leaks and misappropriation of the department’s finances were raised against two teachers.

“A teacher named Mahbubul Alam lost his job, and another, Harun-ur-Rashid, was suspended following the probe,” she said. 

However, police officials who investigated the case denounced this possibility.