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The High Court today acquitted two death row convicts in a case filed over the rape and murder of a child, Fatima Akhter Eti, in Mathbaria upazila of Pirojpur district in 2014.
Nine-year-old Eti, a student of Hatem Ali Government Primary School and daughter of Ful Miah Hawlader of Jhatibunia village in Mathbaria upazila, used to live at her maternal grandfather's house at Bandhabpara-Bukhaitala village.
When the child went to a nearby field to bring back a cow -- belonging to her family -- home on October 5, 2014, Mehedi Hasan Swapan and Sumon Jamadder of Bandhabpara-Bukhaitala village forcibly took her to an orchard and raped her. As she cried for help, the rapists strangled her. Relatives found her body from the orchard the following day.
Following a case filed by Eti's father with Mathbaria Police Station, police arrested Swapan, who is Eti's cousin, and Sumon. After interrogation, they confessed to the crimes.
The Women and Children Repression Prevention Tribual-1 on January 31, 2016 convicted and sentenced Swapan and Sumon to death in the case.
Today, the HC acquitted both Swapan and Sumon of the charges on the ground that the lower court had no jurisdiction to hold the trial of the case because Sumon was a minor at the time.
The HC bench of Justice Krishna Debnath and Justice ASM Abdul Mobin delivered the verdict after hearing the death reference (trial court documents) and the appeals filed by Swapan and Sumon, challenging the trial court judgement.
Citing the HC observation and grounds, defence lawyer Mohammad Shishir Manir told The Daily Star that, "The trial was held without jurisdiction because at that time, the condemned prisoner Sumon Jamadder was a minor (16-year-old)."
"Suman Jamaddar was a minor and Swapan was convicted based on Suman's confessional statement. Therefore, both of them have been acquitted," Shishir Manir added.
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