In a rare instance of its kind, a Bangladeshi court has issued an arrest warrant against a judge for repeatedly defying summons to testify in a “sensational case” of gang-rape and murder of a college girl in 2008.
“The arrest warrant has been served... this is a non-bailable warrant,” said a prosecution lawyer at the district and sessions judge’s court in Lalmonirhat in northwestern Bangladesh after a report appeared in Prothom Alo newspaper.
The report said the district and sessions judge issued the warrant against the then additional chief judicial magistrate of Lalmonirhat, Saifur Rahman, as he failed to appear before the court for the fifth time to testify as a crucial prosecution witness in the gang-rape case.
The testimony of Mr. Rahman, now discharging as an additional district and sessions judge at western Jhinaidah, was required for the trial as he recorded the confessional statement of the detained prime suspect of the rape and subsequent murder while he was in Lalmonirhat.
“The copy of the warrant has been sent to Jhinaidah’s police superintendent and district and sessions judge,” prosecution lawyer Safura Begum said.
She said the trial could not proceed even after the complainant, police investigators, concerned doctors and other witnesses testified before the court as Mr. Rahman did not turn up to give his deposition as the recorder of the confessional statement of the key suspect five years ago.
A group of youngsters raped and later hacked to death Parveen Begum in 2008 that sparked a nationwide protest and prompted the home ministry to enlist the incident as a “sensational case” for close monitoring in a bid to ensure its expedited trial.
Bangladesh courts often issue arrest warrants against police or officers who defy summons or fail to appear in time to testify but warrant against a judge on identical charges are rarely issued.