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Confessional statement leads to acquittal of  death row convict

Published : Sunday, 24 September, 2023 at 12:00 AM  Count : 132
Muhammad Yeasin

After the trial court's verdict Abdus Salam has been in the condemned cell in connection with his wife killing case.

In confessional statement he had admitted in the trial court that he had killed his wife.

The trial court awarded him death sentence.

Abdus Salam never dreamt that he would be acquitted, but it happened, as he was acquitted by the High Court Division as the case turned into killing for self defence.

In its judgement, the High Court Division said that Salam's confession was more admissible. The accused was able to prove his claim of self-defense against his wife's attack. The text of the High Court Division's judgement was recently published on the website of the Supreme Court.

According to the case documents, Abdus Salam's house is in Sirajganj. He used to do plastic business in Banpara of neighboring district Natore. He married Sabina Khatun in 1998. He sometimes went home from Banpara.

They have two children. On the night of July 26, 2008 his wife was killed over arguments with him.

A day after of killing, a murder case was filed against eight people including Abdus Salam.

After his arrest, Salam gave a confessional statement before the trial court under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

In the deposition, he said that on the night of July 26, 2008 he returned home from work and asked his wife to cook rice. But, his wife Sabina asked him to cook and eat it.

Then, Salam grabbed his wife's neck and asked her to get down from the bed and cook rice. But, Sabina then pressed his testicles.

At one stage, Salam asked her to leave but did did not leave. After that Salam held his wife's throat with both hands without letting he go. If she didn't let go, he squeezed his wife's throat even harder. The wife also squeezed hard. At this stage he squeezed harder. After a while, Sabina released her hand. He also released his throat. The wife fell down. He called he but she did not answer.

Later, Sabina died and he took her body out of the house and put it on the ground next to the mango tree, poured kerosene all over the body and set it on fire.

The post-mortem report said that death was due to asphyxiation. Sabina was cremated.

After completing investigation police submitted charge sheet against Abdus Salam, the only accused.
On January 23, 2015, the trial court sentenced Salam to death in the murder case.
The death reference was sent to the High Court Division for its approval.

Salam appealed with the HC seeking acquittal.

After the hearing, the HC bench of Justice SM Emdadul Haque and Justice Bhishmadev Chakraborty on January 25, 2021 acquitted Salam.

The text the HC judgment was recently posted on the website of the Supreme Court.

According to the High Court judgment, the genitals (penis and testicles) are the most sensitive parts of a man and when any violence happens there, people naturally get scared. Here the victim (Sabina) inflicted violence by forcefully applying pressure to the genitals of the convict.

The accused did not heed despite repeated requests. It was an accident when the accused exercised his right of personal defense to protect himself from an attack.

The confessional statement of accused regarding the death of the victim is more admissible than the explanation given by prosecution during the trial proceedings. The convict has been able to prove his claim of self-defence. For that, he is entitled to the benefit of section 100 of the Penal Code.

That offense does not in any way come within the definition of 'murder' under Section 300 of the Penal Code. The judgment and sentence pronounced by the tribunal are set aside.

A person has the right to self-defence when he is seriously injured or is threatened with such injury, the High Court judge said.

The verdict also said that the convict has committed an offense under Section 201 of the Penal Code by setting the dead body on fire to conceal the incident. But no charges were framed against him under that section.

He could have been convicted under this section and given a maximum jail term of seven years if charged under this section. But he has been in prison for more than 12 years, of which more than 5 years have been in the condemned cell, according to the verdict.

As per the section 11(ka) of the Act-2000, the appeal is allowed and jail death reference is rejected.

 The tribunal verdict awarding him death penalty has been cancelled. The authorities concerned are directed to set Abdus Salam free , if there is no other case against him, the HC verdict said.

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