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Italian aid worker killing: BNP leader, six others face charges

24Charges have been pressed against Bangladesh Nationalist Party leader M Abdul Quayum and six others in the case filed for the killing of Italian aid worker Cesare Tavella at Gulshan in Dhaka in September 2015.
Detective Branch inspector Golam Rabbani, also the investigation officer of the case, submitted the charge sheet to the Dhaka Chief Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court on Monday and metropolitan magistrate Sadbir Yeasir Arafath Chowdhury referred the documents to the chief metropolitan magistrate for next course of action, said Dhaka Metropolitan Police additional deputy commissioner (prosecutions) Aminur Raham.
Detective investigators are, however, yet to recover the weapon used in the killing.
Italian-origin international aid worker Cesare Tavella, who was in charge of a project of the Netherlands-based ICCO being implemented in Rangpur, was shot to death by unknown assailants in the capital’s
diplomatic enclave Gulshan on his way home from a club on September 28, 2015.
The aid agency’s country chief Heleen Saaf van der Beek filed the murder case with the Gulshan police station without naming anyone.
The murder triggered local and international condemnation while US-based militancy monitoring agency Site Intelligence Group claimed that Islamic State claimed responsibility for the killing.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police commissioner Asaduzzaman Mia had dismissed the scope of any involvement of foreign militants and claimed that it was a ‘planned conspiracy’ and they had identified the people behind the killing.
On October 26, 2015, the he said that they arrested four suspects – Tamzid Ahmed Rubel, Russell Chowdhury, Minhajul Abedin Russell and Shakhawat Hossain Sharif – on October 25, 2015.
Tamzid, however, told his family that he was not arrested on October but picked up by Detective Branch officials on October 12 and was detained at Detective Branch headquarters on Minto Road for two weeks. The rest three also made similar allegations.
On October 28, 2015, home affairs minister Asaduzzaman Khan said that Quayum, also former Dhaka city ward councillor, was one of the suspects who masterminded the murder.
On November 5, 2015, the investigators also claimed that Quayum’s brother MA Matin was arrested in Jessore as he tried to escape to India to evade arrest.
Matin’s lawyer SM Shawkat Hossain Miah moved a petition seeking his bail stating that the law enforcers picked up Matin 13 days back from in front of his Badda house on October 20, 2015.
Matin’s family lodged a missing person complaint with Badda police station on October 27, 2015.
The investigators claimed that they had found the involvement of Matin, Tamzid, Russell, Minhajul and Shakhawat in the killing and Quayum had plotted the whole episode.
The investigators also said that they were looking for another suspect Shohel Ahmed.
The families of the accused rejected the allegations against them, while Shohel’s family alleged that he went missing on October 16, 2015 when plainclothes police picked him up from the Gulshan-Badda link road.
Supervising officer of the case Detective Branch additional deputy commissioner Shahjahan told New Age on Sunday that they were yet to recover the weapon used in the killing.
Asked, Qauyum told New Age over phone that he left the country on March 20, 2015, more than six months before the incident.
He said he anticipated that he would be prosecuted only because of the political influence in the locality.
According to police headquarters records on recent sensational killings by extremists, at least 37 extremist attacks took place between January 2013 and April 30, 2016.
Police claimed that 25 of the attacks were carried out by the banned Islamist outfit Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh while eight others were committed by Ansarulllah Bangla Team, now renamed as Ansar Al Islam, and the rest four, including the Cesare Tavella killing, were committed by ‘militant groups’ or ‘extremists’.
‘We have doubts about the investigation process since the family of the accused alleged that they were kept in illegal detention for many days,’ Ain O Salish Kendra’s acting executive director Nur Khan Liton said.

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