'When the verdict is finally executed, only then will my daughter's soul find peace,' says the victim's mother
A Rangpur court has sentenced a man to death after finding him guilty in a case filed back in 2016 over the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Pirgonj upazila.
Women and Children and Repression Prevention Tribunal Judge Mostafa Pavel Raihan handed down the verdict Tuesday afternoon, with the death row convict Riyad Pradhan present at the dock.
State Prosecutor Adv Kawsar Ali confirmed the matter to Dhaka Tribune while expressing satisfaction and demanding speedy execution of the verdict.
He said the verdict in the 2016 case was declared in accordance with article 9(2) of the Women and Children Repression Prevention (Amended) Act 2003, which states if a woman or child dies as a result of rape or any other misconduct following rape, the person convicted, shall be punishable by death or life imprisonment and an additional fine of no less than Tk1 lakh.
According to court sources, the victim Tanjila Khatun Chumki, daughter of Shajahan Ali of Ramnathpur village in Pirgonj upazila of Rangpur, was a first-grader at local government primary school.
On June 14, 2016, the day of the incident, Chumki was playing next to her house. At that time, Riyad Pradhan (then 20 years old), son of neighbour Momin Pradhan, lured the child back to his house and raped her there.
When the child screamed for help, Riyad suffocated her to death. Then with the help of his housemaid Dhali Begum (then 50), he stuffed the body inside a sack and buried it under the bed in his mud hut.
Meanwhile, as night approached and the girl did not return home, her family members began to worry. Failing to find her anywhere, the girl’s family lodged a General Diary (GD) with Pirgonj police station.
Informed, Pirgonj police arrested Riyad and recovered Chumki's body from under the bed of the mud hut based on his primary confession.
After an investigation into the incident, the investigating officer filed a charge sheet in the court in December that year.
“After four years, the court announced the verdict after hearing testimonies of 17 witnesses. In addition to the death sentence, the judge also fined the convict with Tk1 lakh, which is to go to the victim’s family as compensation,” said the state prosecutor.
Meanwhile, the court acquitted the other accused, housemaid Dhali Begum, finding the allegations against her to be untrue, he added.
In response to the verdict, the mother of the slain child, Asiya Begum, said she was happy with the verdict. “When the verdict is finally executed, only then will my daughter's soul find peace.”
Meanwhile, the criminal defence lawyer Adv Feroz Ahmed said they didn’t get justice in the verdict and would file an appeal with the High Court.