Wrong person suffers five years in jail because of namesake with real culprit

DHAKA — A man, who was illegally imprisoned in a murder case as the accused was his namesake, was freed on Tuesday (14 August) on a court’s order after spending five years in jail. The jail authorities released him from the Bangladesh High Court premises in Dhaka immediately after the court order. 

Zakir Hossain was serving a life term for another person in a murder case just because the original culprit’s name is also Zakir Hossain and the police arrested the innocent one instead of the culprit. 

Ordering the authorities concerned to release him immediately, the High Court bench also directed three police officers, responsible for the man’s  sufferings, to jointly pay Zakir Taka two million (US$ 25,000) in compensation for making him to stay five years in jail for no offence of his. The High Court also directed the authorities concerned to take departmental action against the three police officers after investigations for the illegal imprisonment of Zakir, who had been in jail since 2007. 

Zakir, now 41, was arrested on December 10, 2007 in Dhaka only for similar name with the real culprit. Though Zakir had no criminal record, police accused him in a murder case and he was given imprisonment for life by the District Judge Court. Innocent Zakir tried his best to convince the police that he was not the real culprit Zakir, but he failed, and he had to serve jail term for about five years.  

 On June 21 this year, there was a report published in the Daily Bangladesh Protidin in this regard and vice-president of Bangladesh Supreme Court Bar Association KM Saifuddin Ahmed brought the matter to the High Court. The High Court bench ordered police to produce Zakir before it on Tuesday and issued the order after brief hearing. 

Coming out of the courtroom, Zakir broke down in tears and told reporters of print and electronic media on the court premises that police officer  Shahidul Islam had detained him in the capital’s Paltan area on November 26, 2007. The following day, he was produced before the district court as a “fugitive convict” in a murder case filed on November 11, 1991. The court sent him to jail to serve a life sentence for “murder conviction”. 

Zakir added that he had no money to appoint a lawyer to get him freed. However, lately when newspapers published reports on his wrongful imprisonment, he became hopeful. He thanked the newspaper for publishing the report on his wrongful imprisonment and High Court’s prompt action in this regard. “But I have lost five years of my life in jail without committing any offence, can I get back that time?” the tearful Zakir asked the question which had no answer.


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