A Khulna court here today sentenced nine outlawed so-called ultra-left Purba Banglar Communist Party (PBCP -ML-Janajuddha) activists to life imprisonment on charges of murdering journalist Manik Saha in 2004 in this southwestern city.
"The court found nine out of 11 accused guilty and handed them down the life imprisonment . . . five of the convicts are on the run," a court official said.
He said Judge of Khulna divisional speedy trial tribunal M A Rob Howlader pronounced the judgment also ordering confiscation "in favour of the state" the previously seized property of the nine convicts.
The judge also fined nine convicted Tk 10,000 saying in default they would languish in jail for one more year will have to suffer on more year in jail and confiscated all seized goods of nine accused in favor of the country.
Witnesses said the judge pronounced the verdict in a crowded courtroom as the accused who faced the trial in person appeared on the dock under heavy security vigil.
The nine convicted criminals are Sumon alias Nuruzzaman, Md. Akbor Shikder alias Shaon, Bulbul alias Bulu, Akram alias Bomaru Akram, Sattar alias disco Sattar, Saka alias Shakwat Hossain, Belal, Soro alias Sorwar Hossain and Mithun alias Mithul. The two acquitted into the murder case are Kochi alias Omor Faruk and Md. Hai Islam alias Kochi. Of the convics, Mithun, Bulu and Bomaru Akram were earlier freed on bail while Sujon and Akbor awaited the verdict in jail while the rests are still on the run.
Journalist Manik Saha, the then Khulna bureau chief of Ekushey Television, was bombed to death near Khulna Press Club on January 15 in 2004 as he was on his way to home at Mirjapore area on a rickshaw.
Saha is also a former president of Khulna Press Club (KPC) and Khulna Union of Journalist (KUJ). Police filed two cases on January 17, two days after the incident and later pressed charge sheet against 11 PBCP -ML-Janajuddha men. Eldest of three sons of his parents, Saha initially began his career as a lawyer joining the Khulna BAR in 1982 and made his debut in journalism on the same year as a correspondent of the daily Sangbad,
He joined as a contributor to the BBC in 1994 and in 2002 he started working with daily New Age.
After the brutal killing of Manik Saha, journalists' community and different socio-cultural and political parties across the country waged a massive protest observing strikes and sit in demonstrations.
Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)