Sagira Morshed murder verdict deferred again due to judge's leave

The verdict has been postponed to Mar 13 as the judge deliberating on the case is on leave

Published : 20 Feb 2024, 06:06 AM
Updated : 20 Feb 2024, 06:06 AM

The verdict in the much-discussed case of Sagira Morshed, who was allegedly killed over a family feud in Dhaka's Siddheshwari more than 30 years ago, has been delayed again.

Dhaka's Special Sessions Judge Mohammad Ali Hossain was scheduled to deliver the judgment on Tuesday. But as the judge is on leave, the verdict has been pushed back to Mar 13, according to Mosharraf Hossain Kajol, a defence lawyer.

Earlier, on Feb 8, Judge Hossain postponed the decision to Feb 20 as the verdict had not been prepared on time.

The accused in the case include Sagira's brothers-in-law Dr Hasan Ali Chowdhury, 71, and Anas Mahmud Rezwan, 60, sister-in-law Sayedatul Mahmuda alias Shaheen, 65, Maruf Reza, 60, and Montu Mandal alias Mintu.

Anas and Maruf are currently in jail, while the others have been granted bail.

The case moved to the judgment phase on Jan 25, after both the prosecution and the defence presented their arguments.

Farooq Ahmed, the lawyer for the plaintiff, and prosecutor Rafiqul Islam are hoping for the maximum punishment for the accused. But Kajol believes they will be acquitted.

On Jul 25, 1989, Sagira was fatally shot by a gunman on a motorcycle on Siddheshwari Road as she was picking up her daughter from Viqarunnisa Noon School.

The same day, her husband, Salam Chowdhury, filed a case at the Ramna Police Station against unidentified assailants. After eyewitnesses pointed to Montu and Maruf Reza as participants in the crime, the police took them into custody.

On May 23, 1991, the Dhaka Judge's Court called for further investigations at the state's request as new information about Maruf Reza emerged during testimonies.

Following a revision petition by Maruf challenging the directive, the High Court on Jul 2, 1991, paused further investigations and trial for six months. It also questioned the necessity of additional investigation.

On Aug 27, 1992, the court extended the halt on trial proceedings until a decision was made regarding the previous inquiry.

The prosecution sought to resume the trial after the new investigating officer brought the case to the attention of the Attorney General’s Office.

The court subsequently decided to lift the freeze on the trial proceedings after a hearing.

In June 2019, the bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Md Mostafizur Rahman dismissed Maruf's application and assigned the Police Bureau of Investigation (PBI) to take over the case.

Upon taking charge, the PBI first reached out to Abdus Salam Chowdhury, Sagira's husband. After numerous efforts, they located the rickshaw driver who had transported Sagira to Siddheshwari.

On Nov 10, 2020, Anas, a brother-in-law of the victim, was arrested in Rampura following the rickshaw driver's identification. His confession led to the arrests of Hasan Ali, his wife Sayedatul Mahmuda Shaheen, and Maruf Reza, who all made confessional statements in court later.

Subsequently, on Dec 2, 2020, Dhaka Metropolitan Sessions Judge KM Imrul Kayes ordered the reopening of the trial.