Wednesday, November 20, 2019

‘I can’t testify because it will be painful’, slain writer Avijit’s father says

  • Prokash Biswas, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2019-10-16 21:08:19 BdST

bdnews24

Professor Ajoy Roy, the father of the slain writer-blogger Avijit Roy, is not testifying in the case he started after the murder of his son in 2015, delaying the trial of the first attack on secular activists in Bangladesh by suspected Islamists.

A retired physics teacher of Dhaka University, Prof Ajoy says he cannot give testimony in court because the memories of Avijit pain him.

The Anti-Terrorism Special Tribunal started the trial by indicting sacked army officer Syed Ziaul Haq, “extremist” blogger Safiur Rahman Farabi, and four suspected members of Islamist militant group Ansarullah Bangla Team in the case on Aug 1 this year.

State counsel Jahangir Alam Chowdhury has named 34 witnesses.

Usually, the recording of witness deposition starts with the testimony of the plaintiff, which the judge set for Sept 11, but Prof Ajoy skipped the hearing.

He again missed the hearing on Oct 6 when two other witnesses came but could not testify because the four arrested accused could not be brought from jail due to “security reasons”.

Judge Md Mojibur Rahman then set Oct 28 to start the recording of witness statements.

Prof Ajoy skipping the hearings visibly delighted the relatives of the accused in court.

Lawyers say it is difficult to prove charges without the plaintiff’s statement.

Prof Ajoy expressed unwillingness to appear in court despite repeated summons, state counsel Jahangir told bdnews24.com.

“He has asked me over phone why he will have to appear in court after initiating a case following the killing of his son,” Jahangir said.

“I will meet Ajoy sir and arrange his appearance in court,” he added, noting the necessity of the plaintiff’s statement to prove the charges.

“It’s impossible for me to testify for justice for my murdered son,” Prof Ajoy told bdnews24.com.

“I will not be able to bear the pains of giving testimony,” he added.

Prof Ajoy said he had also informed the investigation officer and prosecutor about the matter.

Avijit was attacked near the Dhaka University TSC intersection on Feb 26, 2015 as he was returning from the Ekushey Book Fair with his wife Rafida Ahmed Bonya, who was also injured in the assault.

In addition to writing on various scientific issues, he was the founder of the popular blog ‘Muktomona’.

He had come to Bangladesh to take part in the book fair despite threats from militants.