Rapid Action Battalion yesterday arrested a fugitive sentenced in 1997 to life imprisonment in a murder case who has been practising as a lawyer at Dhaka Judge’s Court for the last 14 years.
The Rab-4 arrested Mohammad Sirajul Islam alias Siraj Matbar on the court premises yesterday afternoon.
In Rab custody Siraj said he fled to the capital from his Charchakandi village of Palong upazila in Shariatpur district soon after the killing took place on March 27, 1990 in the village.
Major Khandakar Golam Sarwar of Rab-4 told The Daily Star that acting on a tip-off a Rab team led by DAD Selim Reza arrested Siraj around 2:30pm on the street in front of Dhaka Judge’s Court when Siraj was leaving the court for his residence.
Siraj had been arrested following the murder of farmer Mojammel in a clash between two groups of villagers over selection of candidate for Union Parishad chairman. Siraj got out on bail after eight months in jail.
A Shariatpur court awarded him life term in September 1997 for the murder. Siraj appealed with the High Court against the verdict, but the HC upheld the trial court’s verdict on May 25, 2005, Siraj said.
“Coming out on bail, I fled to the capital, studied law and started practising at Dhaka Judge’s Court and also became a member of Dhaka Bar in 1996. After the High Court upheld the verdict in 2005, I did not surrender,” Siraj told The Daily Star.
In reply to a question, Siraj said, “If I had surrendered and appealed to the Supreme Court, I would have been sent to jail…My family–my wife and two minor daughters–in the city’s Gendaria depends on me, so I had to continue my illegal practice.”
When contacted, Dhaka Bar Secretary Gazi Mohammad Shah Alam told The Daily Star that as acquiring a certificate to become a lawyer does not need police verification, it gives criminals like Siraj scopes to be lawyers.
To be a member of a bar, it only needs an affidavit that the membership seeker has no affiliation to other profession, he added.
Siraj took both the chances and became a lawyer and a member of the bar, Shah Alam said, adding that he would take steps to cancel Siraj’s membership.
One of several CNG filling stations between Kanchpur Bridge and Jatrabari of the capital which BNP big shots built on the Kutubkhali canal, drastically reducing Dhaka’s drainage capability. PHOTO: STAR –>
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