Writers, teachers, colleagues, publishers and academics have their expressed their happiness with the verdict in Humayun Azad murder case and demanded its quick execution.
A Dhaka court sentenced four people to death around noon on Wednesday. Fourth Dhaka Additional Metropolitan Sessions Judge Al-Mamun delivered the verdict in the case and also fined each of the convicts Tk 50,000.
The convicts who got the death penalty are Mohammad Mizanur Rahman Minhaz, Anwarul Alam, Nur Mohammad Shamim, and Salehin, all of whom are members of the banned Islamist outfit Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh.
Azad, a prolific writer and professor of Bangla literature at Dhaka University who was well-known campaigner of freethinking, came under attack on the campus after leaving the Bangla Academy during the Amar Ekushey Book Fair on Feb 27, 2004.
He was found dead at his apartment in Munich, Germany on Aug 12, 2004. His brother Manjur Kabir had initially filed an attempt to murder case, which was later turned into a murder case after further investigation.
The case documents reveal that Azad’s sudden demise in Munich was due to stress, anxiety and underlying injuries which resulted from the attack.
Issued by a Munich morgue, the autopsy report also said Azad’s treatment after the attack may not have been able to cure him properly and the fear and anxiety resulting from the attack, which is clinically known as post-traumatic stress disorder, may have exacerbated his already worsening condition before he finally died.
The Criminal Investigation Department named five JMB members in the chargesheet.
In an immediate response to the verdict, Dhaka University Professor Emeritus Serajul Islam Choudhury said: “The verdict has taken a long time. It should have been delivered earlier. The investigation could have been carried out faster.”
“The criminals deserve the death sentences. They have done a horrible thing. The verdict should be implemented quickly.”
Prof Rafique Ullah Khan, a colleague of Azad at Dhaka University, added: “If the fanatics and militants learn their lesson, it will be the biggest achievement of this verdict.”
However, he expressed frustration over not trying war criminal Delwar Hossain Sayedee in court.
“I don’t understand how he remained so safe despite him being a war criminal. Azad had also mentioned him. The attackers were influenced by Sayedee. Now, it is important to execute the verdict quickly.”
Osman Gani, CEO of Agamee Prakashani, was also satisfied with the verdict. “I hope the government will take immediate action to enforce the ruling.”
Writer Abul Kashem Fazlul Haq also expressed his pleasure over the verdict.
“It’s good that the verdict has been delivered. Bangladesh came to be known as a land of injustice. Over the last few years, we have seen justices being served and verdicts delivered. However, it takes a long time for the High Court to rule after the lower court’s verdict. The justice system in Bangladesh is inadequate.”
Poet Mohammad Nurul Huda, director general of Bangla Academy, said many murders could have been “prevented” if the verdict was delivered on time.
“Even though it arrived late, the verdict has proved that there is justice in our country. We thank the court for that.”
Azad’s brother Kabir shared his immediate response to the verdict with bdnews24.com.
“The main culprit was not put on trial. Azad blamed Sayedee after the attack. As Sayedee has been left out of the proceedings, it’s all meaningless.”