The convict was fined a total of Tk10 lakh
A Dhaka court in its maiden judgment over a case filed under the Digital Security Act (DSA) sentenced former officer-in-charge (OC) of Sonagazi Police Station Md Moazzem Hossain to eight years of rigorous imprisonment on charges of filming and circulating a video clip of madrasa student Nusrat Jahan Rafi.
Judge Mohammad Ash-Shams Jaglul Hossain of Cyber Tribunal (Bangladesh) in Dhaka handed down the judgment around 2:20pm on Thursday in the jam-packed courtroom in the presence of the lone accused amid tight security.
The convict was fined a total of Tk10 lakh. Failure to pay the fine will extend his sentence by another six months. The court in its order also said that the money will be handed over to Nusrat’s family.
The court said records revealed that OC Moazzem Hossain was found guilty of the charges brought against him under sections 26 and 29 of the Act.
The former police official was awarded five years rigorous imprisonment and fined Tk5 lakh under section 26, and three years rigorous imprisonment with a Tk5 lakh fine under section 29 of the act.
The two prison terms will be executed one after another, which means he will have to remain behind bars for eight years. However, his prison time will be counted from June 16 when he first landed in jail after his arrest.
After the verdict, Special Public Prosecutor Nazrul Islam Shamim and complainant of the case Syed Sayedul Haque Suman expressed their satisfaction over the verdict saying that they got justice in the case.
However, OC Moazzem’s lawyer Faruk Ahmed said they were denied justice, and will appeal to the high court.
Before the verdict was announced, police brought OC Moazzem from Kashimpur Central Jail at 9:00am and kept him in the court lockup.
On November 20, the court fixed November 28 to pass the verdict as both the prosecution and defence concluded their arguments in the case on that day.
A total of 12 witnesses, including investigation officer senior ASP Rima Sultana of Police Bureau of Investigation (PBI) testified in the case.
Supreme Court lawyer Barrister Syed Sayedul Haque Suman filed the case on April 15 under section 26, 29 and 31 of the Digital Security Act against OC Moazzem Hossain on charges of recording Sonagazi Islamia Senior Fazil Madrasa student Nusrat Jahan Rafi’s statement on video and circulating the clip on social media without her consent.
Moazzem was arrested from capital’s Shahbagh area on June 16, and on July 17, the tribunal framed charges in the case as Moazzem pleaded not guilty before it, and sent him to jail after scrapping his plea for bail.
Earlier on May 27, the tribunal issued an arrest warrant against the cop a day after the PBI submitted its probe report over the incident.
According to the case, the former Sonagazi OC summoned Nusrat as she filed a case against her madrasa principal Sirajuddaula on charges of sexual harassment.
OC Moazzem, in his room, started quizzing Nusrat about the incident, and recorded the whole conversation in absence of any lawyer or female cop.
In the clip, Moazzem was seen scolding Nusrat and asking her indecent questions. Moazzem later posted the video on different social media sites.
On April 6, Nusrat was set on fire by Sirajuddaula’s stooges and she succumbed to her injuries at Dhaka Medical College Hospital on April 10.
On October 24, a Feni court sentenced 16 people to death, in the Nusrat murder case.
Nusrat had accused Sirajuddaula of harassing her sexually on March 27. Subsequently she was exposed to his extreme vengeance on April 6, when she went to the madrasa to appear for her Alim examinations.
A group of masked youths, later found to be cronies of the disgraced principal, took Nusrat to the rooftop of the madrasa, tied her down with a scarf, and set her on fire.
On October 24, a Feni court sentenced the 16 accused including sacked madrasa principal Sirajuddoula to death in another case filed on charges of killing Nusrat Jahan Rafi.
Nusrat’s mother expresses satisfaction over verdict
Nusrat Jahan Rafi’s mother Shirin Akhter expressed satisfaction over the verdict against former Sonagazi OC Moazzem.
While talking to journalists at her village home in Feni yesterday Shirin Akhter said: "Nusrat's soul will rest in peace now."
“During my testimony before the tribunal, I said that the OC had tried to take the case towards a different perspective, and to establish the murder as a case of suicide."