‘I’m satisfied, sir!’: victim’s brother weeps after 1st verdict on custodial death

When Imtiaz Hossain Rocky — younger brother of Ishtiaque Hossain Jonny who was tortured to death in police custody in 2014 — heard the verdict, he was stunned into silence.

Before the court started proceedings today to deliver the verdict of the first ever case filed under the Torture and Custodial Death (Prevention) Act, Rocky had been seen running from one end to the other to talk to various lawyers and giving interviews to all who asked.

But when the judge finished reading his verdict — that the three accused police officials will have to serve life sentences — Rocky just stood shell-shocked.

A good few minutes had passed and the courtroom started clearing out, but he just stood there silently sobbing, his head buried in his chest.

As people prodded him, he whispered, barely audibly, “I’m satisfied, sir” over and over again.

His mother tried to comfort her crying son. Even though she too had just received justice for her murdered son, it was Rocky who shouldered the burden of waging a landmark case against the police.

It was a historic win.

Judge KM Emrul Kayesh of Metropolitan Sessions Judge’s Court sentenced three policemen of Pallabi Police Station — former sub-inspector Jahidur Rahman, former assistant sub-inspectors Qamruzzaman Mintu and Rashedul Islam — to life imprisonment and two other accused, police informants Sumon and Russell, to seven years’ jail.

“The highest punishment allowed in this law is life-sentence — not death — and that is what I am serving today,” said Judge Kayesh in his observation.

“When custodial torture by law enforcers happens, nobody witnesses it except the detainee and God. This verdict was possible because Jonny’s uncles were also detained and in the same police cell and they saw the torture happen,” he said.

On February 7, 2014, a police team led by then Sub-inspector Jahidur Rahman Khan picked up Rocky and Jonny from the capital’s Pallabi Irani Camp area along with some others from a pre-wedding programme.

They were tortured inside the Pallabi Police Station for around two and a half hours, and Jonny lost consciousness. He was taken to a local clinic where he succumbed to his injuries.

Judge Kayesh called the torture perpetrated by the police “heinous”.

As Judge Kayesh shared some details of the torture inflicted on the brothers with the courtroom, Rocky’s eyes glistened with tears.

“At one point when Jonny asked for some water, Jahid spat at his face and said, ‘Here, drink this’. This is a violation of human rights,” observed Judge Kayesh.

“I am disposing of this case today after undergoing many ups and downs,” observed Judge Kayesh.

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