Crime & Justice

Bangladesh slaps death penalty on 2 cops for killing ex military officer

Dhaka, Jan 31 (EFE).- A Bangladesh court on Monday sentenced two former police officers to death for the extra-judicial killing of a retired army major in July 2020, in a case that triggered a wave of indignation and tensions between different security forces of the country.

The former police chief of the southern Teknaf region, Pradeep Kumar Das, and police inspector Liyakat Ali were sentenced to death for the killing of retired military officer Sinha Mohammad Rashed Khan, prosecutor Faridual Alam told EFE.

Mohammad Ismail, the judge at a lower court in the southeastern Cox’s Bazar district, also handed life imprisonment on six other people – including three police officers – for their alleged involvement in killing Khan, while six other accused were acquitted due to lack of evidence.

“We are fully satisfied with the verdict. We will make a decision about appealing against the acquittals and lighter punishments after talking to the family of the victim,” Alam said.

Before retiring, 36-year-old Khan had worked in the special forces in charge of protecting Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Khan was shot dead in police firing at a checkpost in Cox’s Bazar.

The police claimed to have shot Khan in self-defense, mistaking him for a thief.

However, the Bangladeshi military did not take the death of its former officer lightly and the incident sparked tensions between the security forces.

The first arrests took place a few days later after the major’s sister lodged a complaint.

The incident grabbed headlines and captured public attention in Bangladesh, where at least 4,140 people were killed between 2001 and 2021 in extra-judicial killings by security forces, according to human rights group Odhikar.

On Dec. 10 the United States slapped economic sanctions against Bangladesh’s controversial elite police unit Rapid Action Force and seven of its past and present senior officials, including the current national police chief Benazir Ahmed.

The US treasury said that the RAB and other Bangladeshi agencies had been accused of around 600 extra-judicial killings since 2018 and as many enforced disappearances since 2009. EFE


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