The human rights activist said the High Court should pay special attention to the case
The family of the 2017 bus gang rape and murder victim Zakia Sultana Rupa is still waiting for compensation that the court ordered the Tangail deputy commissioner to pay.
With each passing day, the family now says the hope to receive compensation is fading.
The court in its verdict in 2018 said Rupa's family would have to be compensated by selling the bus on which she was raped and killed.
However, the bus, which police seized after the incident, is still lying on the Madhupur Police Station premises in Tangail.
Moreover, the vehicle remains in a shabby state due to neglect. It was worth Tk14 lakh when the verdict was delivered.
Now, it has depreciated and is valued at Tk5-6 lakh, said the bus owner.
On August 25, 2017, Rupa was gang-raped and killed on a bus of Chowa Paribahan that she took to travel to Mymensingh from Bogura. The 27-year-old was a student of Ideal Law College in Dhaka.
On February 12, 2018, Tangail Women and Children Repression Prevention Tribunal delivered the verdict in the case. Four people were sentenced to death, and another one got seven years in prison.
The then officer-in-charge of Madhupur Police Station Tarek Kamal told The Business Standard that nobody came to the police station to sell the bus.
"A few days after the verdict was pronounced, the convicts petitioned the High Court for staying the tribunal's compensation order. The court granted the petition," he added.
Rupa's elder brother Hafizur Rahman told The Business Standard, "We contacted the deputy commissioner of Tangail many times but he said the bus could not be sold due to the High Court stay order."
"We do not know how long it will take to get the compensation. Also, the bus might have to be sold as an abandoned vehicle because it is in a run-down state. The hope of getting compensation is lost," he added.
The public prosecutor of Tangail Women and Children Repression Prevention Tribunal S Akbar Ali said the deputy commissioner is empowered to sell a property for paying compensation in accordance with the civil and criminal procedures.
Tangail Deputy Commissioner Md Shahidul Islam told The Business Standard he took an initiative to sell the bus after the court delivered the verdict but could not, due to the High Court stay order.
"Now, we have been waiting for the final verdict of the High Court," he added.
Md Akhtaruzzaman, owner of Chowa Paribahan, said the convicted bus workers are liable for the compensation.
Advocate Sultana Kamal, an adviser to the former caretaker government, said the Tangail court delivered a remarkable verdict in a very short period.
"But now the final verdict is pending before the High Court. No one can say how long it will take to dispose of the case. The High Court giving a stay order on compensation ordered by a trial court – this has become a common pattern," she said.
The human rights activist said the High Court should pay special attention to the case.
"Otherwise, the victim's family will continue to suffer," she added.
Md Aktaruzzaman Bhuiyan (Joint District Judge), deputy registrar of the High Court division, told The Business Standard the High Court is not ready to hear the case because the paper book needed for the hearing has not been prepared yet.
"It will be prepared very soon," he said.
Attorney General Mahbubey Alam said the death reference and appeal of the case would be brought to the High Court's attention very soon.
Defence lawyer Advocate Shamim Islam told The Business Standard the death reference and appeal of the case are not on the High Court's hearing list yet.
"There are three benches of the High Court that hear death references. We tried many times in the last two years but could not add Rupa's case to the hearing list," he added.
The death reference of the case reached the High Court on February 18, 2018. On February 25, the convicts filed an appeal against the tribunal verdict and sought acquittal.
The condemned convicts in the case are bus driver Habib Miah, 45, son of Shahidul Islam of Mirzapur village in Mymensingh Sadar upazila, and bus helpers Shamim Miah, 26, son of Khorshed Alam of Nandibari village in Muktagachha upazila, Akram, 35, son of late Kamal Hossain of the same village, and Jahangir Alam, 19, son of Emadadul Haque of Mirzapur village.
Bus supervisor Safar Ali alias Gendu, 55, son of Sultan Ali of Mirzapur village, was sentenced to seven years in jail and was fined Tk1 lakh too.