A tribunal in Dhaka yesterday framed charges against all 25 accused Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology students in the Abrar Fahad murder case.
Twenty-two of the accused, now in jail, pleaded not guilty and demanded justice after Judge Abu Zafar Md Kamruzzaman of the Speedy Trial Tribunal-1 of Dhaka read out the charges to them.
They are Mehedi Hasan Russel, Muhtasim Fuad, Anik Sarkar Apu, Mehedi Hasan Robein, Ifti Mosharraf Shokal, Moniruzzaman Monir, Meftahul Islam Zion, Majedur Rahman alias Majed, Mujahidur Rahman, Khandaker Tabakkarul Islam Tanvir, Hossain Mohammad Toha, Akash Hossain, Shamim Billah, ASM Nazmus Sadat, Moaz Abu Hurayra, Muntasir Al Jemi, Amit Saha, Ishtiaq Ahmed Munna, Mizanur Rahman alias Mizan, SM Mahmud alias Setu, Shamsul Arefin Rafat and Morshed Amartya Islam.
Before that, the tribunal dismissed all the petitions submitted by lawyers to discharge them from the case.
The court set September 20 to start the trial of the case with the recording of the complainant's testimony.
The court also issued arrest warrants for the three other accused -- Mustaba Rafid, Muhammad Morshed-Uz-Zaman Mondol alias Jishan and Ehtashamul Rabbi Tanim -- who are on the run.
Abrar, a second-year student of electrical and electronic engineering department of Buet, died after he was brutally beaten allegedly by some Chhatra League men at Sher-e-Bangla hall of the university in the early hours of October 7, 2019.
Later, his father Barkatullah filed a murder case in this regard with Chawkbazar Police Station against 19 Buet unit BCL leaders on October 7.
The incident triggered a firestorm of protests on campuses across the country. Many took to social media to demand justice for Abrar.
Amid protests, Buet authorities on October 11 banned all political activities on the campus and suspended 19 students, mostly leaders of the university's BCL unit who were made accused in the murder case.
On November 13 last year, Inspector Md Wahiduzaman of Detective Branch of police submitted the charge sheet to the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Court in Dhaka against 25 Buet students.
Of them, 22 accused were earlier arrested and remanded several times. During the investigation, eight of the accused gave confessional statements to magistrates at different times last year.
Following filing of the charge sheet, the court had issued arrest warrants against them and also ordered that advertisements be published in two national dailies asking the three fugitives to appear before the court within a stipulated period.