The High Court upheld the death sentence of four accused in the murder of Japanese citizen Hoshi Kunio in Rangpur, Bangladesh seven years ago. Besides, accused Ishaq Ali has been acquitted. All of them are members of the banned organization Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB).
Wednesday (September 21) Justice Md. Mostafizur Rahman and Justice SM Masud Hossain Dolan announced the verdict in the bench.
Wednesday (September 21) was scheduled to pronounce the verdict after the hearing on the death reference (sanction of death sentence), appeal and jail appeal of the accused on September 19.
Additional Attorney General Sheikh Mohammad (SK) Morsed was the lawyer of the state in this case in the court. He was assisted by Deputy Attorney General Bashir Ahmed, Deputy Attorney General Bashir Ahmed, Assistant Attorney General A Manna, Assistant Attorney General Zakir Hossain Masud and Assistant Attorney General Nirmal Kumar Das.
Lawyer Md. was in the hearing for the defendant. Ahsan Ullah and Md. Shamsul Islam. State-appointed lawyer on behalf of a fugitive defendant. Hafizur Rahman Khan was in the hearing.
Later, Nirmal Kumar Das said that the High Court has upheld the hanging of four militants.
They are JMB regional commander Masud Rana alias Mamun (21), member Liton Mia alias Rafiq (23), Sakhawat Hossain (32) and Ahsan Ullah Ansari alias Biplab (24).
Ahsan Ullah is absconding among them. He was a third year student of statistics department of Begum Rokeya University, Rangpur. The remaining three accused Masood Rana, Ishaq and Liton are in jail.
Besides, JMB member Isaac Ali was acquitted by the High Court.
On February 28, 2017, special judge Naresh Chandra Sarkar of Rangpur announced the death sentence to five JMB militants for killing Japanese citizen Hoshi Kunio. Besides, each of those five people was fined 20,000 taka.
Then the death reference (document for approving the death sentence) is sent to the High Court. Besides, the accused appealed and jailed. After the paper book of the appeal was prepared, the hearing of the appeal started from last September 4 when the hearing bench was appointed. The hearing on the accused’s death reference, appeal and jail appeal concluded in eight working days.
Apart from this, two others out of the eight accused in the charge sheet were killed in the alleged gunfight, so the judgment was dropped from the charges in the case. Among them, Nazrul Islam alias Hasan alias Bike Hasan of Gajpuri area of Debiganj, Panchagarh was killed in Rajshahi on August 1 before the complaint was filed and Saddam Hossain alias Rahul alias Chanchal alias Sabuj alias Ravi of Char Vidyanand area of Rajarhat, Kurigram was killed in gunfight at Mohammadpur embankment in Dhaka after the complaint was filed. Besides, after receiving information about the involvement of another person named Vijay, the police could not identify him.
On August 7, 2016, the investigation officer of the case, Kaunia Police Station Officer-in-Charge (OC) Abdul Quader Jilani filed a charge sheet against the eight JMB militants in the court of Rangpur Senior Judicial Magistrate.
Later, when the case was transferred to the court of special judge Naresh Chandra Sarkar in Rangpur, on November 15, 2016, judicial proceedings were started by forming a charge against seven defendants. In the case, the court accepted the testimony of 55 witnesses of the plaintiff and one witness of the accused.
Japanese citizen Hoshi Kunio came to Bangladesh on December 23, 2011. He used to cultivate good quality grass as fodder for cattle in Kachu Alutari village of Kaunia upazila of Rangpur. On October 3, 2015, 66-year-old Kunio was shot dead in Kachu Alutari village.