‘We hope the government will ensure justice without further delay’
Fourteen years have elapsed since the brutal attack on Dhaka University Professor Humayun Azad on February 27, 2004, but his family continues to wait for justice.
Two cases filed over the attack and death of Prof Azad remain pending due to slow trial, non-appearance of witnesses, and alleged negligence of prosecution lawyers.
Expressing frustration over the slow process, Azad’s daughter Mauli Azad said: “We hope the government will ensure justice without further delay.”
Expressing dissatisfaction over the lengthy proceedings, on February 20, 2014 the High Court directed the lower court to dispose of the case within six months. Four years on, there has been no significant progress.
A total of 41 out of 58 prosecution witnesses including the late professor’s daughter Mauli Azad and his son Ananya Azad gave testimony before court for the murder case, while only ten out of 49 witnesses came forth for the other case, which was filed under the Explosive Substances Act.
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The trial against Mizanur Rahman, Anwar Alam, Nur Mohammad Babu, Salauddin, and Hafiz Mahmud began on September 10, 2012 for the murder case.
Of the suspects, Salauddin and Babu are on the run while the others are in jail.
After the incident, two of the arrested JMB leaders, Minhaz and Anwar gave confessional statements.
Minhaz confessed that they attacked Prof Humayun Azad at the Bangla Academy premises for writing a scathing critique of Islamic fundamentalism titled ‘Pak Sar Zameen Saad Baad’, which was also published in the Eid issue of the Daily Ittefaq on November 20, 2003.
After undergoing a series of treatments at home and abroad, the DU teacher died of cardiac arrest in Munich, Germany, on August 12 that very year.
Denying allegations of negligence, Additional Public Prosecutor Mahfuzur Rahman said: “We have been sending summons asking witnesses to appear, but their continued refusal is holding up the trial.”
“We are trying our best to complete the trial within the shortest possible time,” he added.