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Bangladesh widow serving life term of another woman is released after three years

  • Chattogram Bureau,
    Published: 2021-06-16 23:28:44 BdST

Jail authorities have released Minu Akter, a widow who spent three years behind bars in a murder case after the original convict, lifer Kulsuma Akter, promised to look after Minu’s children.

She walked free from Chattogram Central Jail on Wednesday afternoon following a High Court order, said Golam Mawla Murad, the lawyer for Minu.

Besides her release, the High Court on Jun 7 ordered the authorities to investigate whether any fraudulent act took place during the filing of an appeal against Kulsumi’s life sentence, a process which requires the convict to surrender first.  

The court also ordered the swift arrest of Kulsuma and summoned three lawyers involved with the case and a lawyer’s assistant.

Nurul Anwar, a public prosecutor at Chattogram’s Women and Children Repression Prevention Tribunal-2, lawyers MA Naser and Vivekananda, and a lawyer’s assistant, Sourav, will have to appear and explain the incident on Jun 28. Vivekananda and Sourav have been identified with single names.

The original convict, Kulsuma, had challenged in the High Court a lower court verdict that sentenced her to life in prison. She had to show that “she had surrendered” before making the appeal.

Minu will have to appear in court for hearing if necessary, said Omar Fuad, a bench assistant of the Fourth Additional Metropolitan Sessions Judges Court. 

According to the case against Kulsuma, a garment factory worker named Kohinur Begum was murdered in the port city’s Rahmatganj on Jul 9, 2006 following a dispute over a mobile phone.

Kulsuma was freed on bail one and a half years after the police had arrested her in 2007.

Besides sentencing her to life in prison, the court on Nov 30, 2017 fined her Tk 50,000.

A woman named Marzina Akter then approached Minu, who has two sons and a daughter, with a proposal to look after her children in exchange for serving the jail term for Kusuma until bail, said Minu’s brother Rubel Hossain.

Minu, a woman from Cumilla’s Moynamati who lost her cart puller husband five years ago, agreed to the proposal, said Rubel.

Now her two sons live in an orphanage in Chattogram’s Sitakunda while the daughter lives with another family.

“Marzina has not contacted us, let along give money. Three years have passed, but they have not got my sister bailed,” said Rubel.

Posing as Kulsuma, Minu surrendered to court on Jun 12, 2018.

She informed the jail authorities on Mar 18 this year that she is not Kulsuma after Marzina broke her promise to help, said Mawla, the lawyer for Minu.

Md Shafiqul Islam, senior superintendent of Chattogram Central Jail, said they checked the register after Minu insisted that she was not Kulsuma.

The authorities informed the court after finding that Kulsumi’s height and photo do not match Minu’s.

Judge Shariful forwarded the case to the High Court after he was convinced that Minu is not the convict. He had spoken to Minu and checked the register of Chattogram Central Jail.