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Dhaka Tribune

Hoshi Kunio murder: Appeal seeks suspension of JMB member acquittal

Four of the five defendants convicted of killing Japanese citizen Hoshio Kunio received death sentences from the High Court

Update : 22 Sep 2022, 01:12 PM

The state has moved the High Court, seeking a suspension of the acquittal of a member of banned militant outfit Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) for the killing of Japanese citizen Hoshi Kunio in Rangpur. 

The High Court acquitted JMB military commander Eshak Ali while hearing the death references on Wednesday.

The application was filed with the Chamber Court of the Appellate Division on Thursday. 

Japanese citizen Hoshi Kunio came to Bangladesh on December 23, 2011. 

He used to cultivate grass as fodder for cattle in Kachu alutari village of Kaunia upazila in Rangpur. 

On October 3, 2015, 66-year-old Kunio was shot dead in Kachu alutari village.

Five days after the killing of Italian citizen Tabela Caesar in Dhaka's Gulshan, the incident of killing a Japanese citizen in Rangpur in the same manner stirred the international media. 

The Middle East-based militant group IS (Islamic States) later claimed responsibility for both incidents. However, the Bangladesh government rejected it. 

Police later blamed Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) for Kunio’s murder, and some including a leader of BNP were charged in the murder of Tabela Caesar. 

On October 3, 2015, then OC of Kaunia police station Rezaul Karim filed a murder case against an unknown person as the plaintiff for Kunio’s murder. 

On February 28, 2017, five JMB militants were sentenced to death by Judge Naresh Chandra Sarkar of the Special Judge Court of Rangpur.

The five accused were also fined Tk20,000 each.

The convicts sentenced to death are Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) regional commander Masud Rana alias Mamun ,21, members Eshahak Ali ,25, Liton Mia alias Rafiq ,23, Sakhawat Hossain ,32, and Ahsan Ullah Ansari alias Biplab ,24. 

Ahsan Ullah is absconding among them. He is a third year student of statistics department of Begum Rokeya University, Rangpur. 

Abu Saeed, 28, of Kaliganj Bazar in Pirgacha was acquitted as the murder charges were not proved beyond doubt.

Out of the eight accused in the charge sheet, two others were killed in the crossfire, and were dropped from the case. 

Among them, Bike Hasan, 28, was killed on August 1, 2016 in Rajshahi. Meanwhile, Saddam Hossain alias Rahul alias Chanchal alias Sabuj alias Ravi, 21, was killed at Mohammadpur Beribandh in Dhaka.

Later the death reference (document for approving the death sentence) of the accused was sent to the High Court. 

After hearing petitions, the High Court upheld the death sentence of four JMB militants for killing Hoshi Kunio. However, the court acquitted one accused.

Justice Md Mostafizur Rahman and Justice SM Masud Hossain Dolan of High Court bench gave the verdict on Wednesday.

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