Death in N’ganj Cop Custody Family doubts fair probe


Two of the three members of the committee formed to probe Shamim Reza’s death from torture were involved in interrogating him, alleges his family.
Shamim, 26, arrested on May 14 along with two others in Sonargaon murder case, died at Dhaka Medical College Hospital under police custody Wednesday morning.
The same day, Shamim and other detainees were interrogated by Narayanganj Superintendent of Police Syed Nurul Islam, Additional SP (crime) Ashrafuzzaman and assistant SP (B-circle) Uttam Prasad, allege the family members.
However, following Shamim’s death, the Police Super ordered formation of probe body with Ashrafuzzaman as its head and Uttam Prasad and Court Inspector Asaduazzaman as members.
The committee has been asked to submit its finding within three days.
SP Nurul Islam, asked whether Ashrafuzzaman and Uttam Prasad were present at Shamim’s interrogation, said, “So far I know, Ashrafuzzaman was not present at Shamim’s interrogation. But Uttam as assistant police super of B-circle, in which Sonargaon Police Station falls, might have been one of the interrogators.”
Islam said he himself talked to Shamim at his office on May 20 and the youth described how the Sonargaon murder was planned.
“Shamim was not ill at that time.” If Shamim was not physically and mentally fit, the magistrate would not have recorded his statement, the SP added.
Talking to The Daily Star, Nurul Islam also said Shamim Reza was arrested on May 19. Refuting relatives’ claim that the youth was picked up by police on May 14, he said, “We cannot respond to everything that relatives claim. We will go by what our documents say.”
Under the circumstances, Shamim’s relatives fear that the probe body would not carry out fair investigation.
“How can we trust the people, who denied Shamim’s arrest on May 14, to carry out a fair probe into his death,” said his brother Iqbal Hossain.
Sonargaon police station inspector (investigation) Arup Tarafder, who allegedly tortured Shamim in his quarter and demanded bribe from Shamim’s family, refuted all allegations while talking to this correspondent.
He insisted that Shamim was not arrested on May 14 adding that Protap Char villagers who witnessed the arrest are lying about it.
Regarding the probe body, Sultana Kamal of rights body Ain O Salish Kendra (Ask) said investigating a case of police torture an independent probe body must be formed.
“At least members from police force from a different area should lead the inquiry committee. But if the probe body has members from the place where the incident occurred then it is unlikely that the truth will come out,” she added.
Mizanur Rahman, chairman of National Human Rights Commission, said they would take up Shamim’s case even if no complaint is filed by the victim’s family.
“Initially we will send a letter to the home ministry asking them for a probe into the incident. Based on the findings, we will decide our next course of action,” he added.
“Since the victim had injury marks in his body, we would request government to include at least one medical doctor in the investigation team.”
Our Narayanganj correspondent reported Shamim’s burial at his village in Protaper Char on Wednesday night.
At the time of his death at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital, Shamim had marks of injury all over his body and blue round swollen marks in his wrists.
According to his relative, Shamim was forced to give confessional statement at the court on May 20 about his involvement in the murder of four people at Sonargaon upazila in Naryanganj on April 20.

Source: The Daily Star


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