Before Rayhan Ahmed, 34, was killed after allegedly being tortured in the custody of Sylhet police, he had plans to settle in the United States in the hopes of a better future for him and his family.
He, along with his family members, was supposed to apply for immigrant visas to the United States, under the sponsorship of Rayhan’s uncle Moinul Islam Kuddin, a US citizen.
Although nearly all preparations had been completed, the overall process was delayed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Rayhan was due to submit his papers to the US embassy in November.
However, police SI Akbar Hossain Bhuiyan and his associates have shattered Rayhan’s dreams before they could become a reality, say family members.
Rayhan’s mother, a lamenting Salma Begum, said that she along with her children had a hard life since her husband’s passing. “All my dreams have been shattered by SI Akbar and his associates. I never thought of such a tragedy in my life.
“Rayhan had a job with very little income, but the family was content. Thinking about Rayhan’s future, I spoke to one of his uncles in America to sponsor him aboard. All the necessary documents for the visa were prepared too.”
“But, alas I lost the boy I struggled all my life to raise. He begged the police but they didn’t let him live. I want the killers to hang so that no mother has to lose her son as I have.”
“My son is not a mugger. He was apprehended and later killed by the police. They killed my son for mere Tk10,000. Rayhan’s two-month-old daughter just lost her father. How can I endure this as his mother?”
Rayhan’s uncle Habibullah said completely fabricated information has been provided in the details of the case that was filed against Rayhan as part of a cover-up.
According to family sources, Rayhan was the eldest among his siblings. His father Md Rafiqullah was a Havildar in the Border Guard Bangladesh. Rafiqullah died when Rayhan was still in his mother's womb. Since his passing, the struggles of Rayhan’s family began.
On a visit to Rayhan’s home, this correspondent saw Rayhan's wife Tahmina Akhter Tanni crying her eyes out and repeatedly fainting from the strain with her two-month-old daughter in her lap.
Tanni said: “Granted we did not have much but regardless together we were a very happy family. The police have ruined everything! My daughter has lost her father. How could they do something so inhumane wearing police uniforms.”
On Sunday, the 34-year-old Rayhan Ahmed died in police custody following torture, his family alleged. However, police denied the allegation and said Rayhan had been caught by locals while mugging and was lynched.
Police said they found the man wounded in the mob beating and took him to a hospital, where he died.
However, the victim's mother said Rayhan had called her from an unknown number at 4:23am and said that police had taken him to Bandarbazar police outpost and were demanding Tk10,000 for his release.
Rayhan's uncle rushed to free him with Tk5,000, but police refused to accept the money. He was told to come in the morning after arranging the full amount of Tk10,000.
Rayhan's uncle went to Bandarbazar police outpost at 9am and was told by police that Rayhan had fallen ill and had been taken to a hospital at 7am.
Rushing to the hospital, he came to know that Rayhan was already dead and that his body had been sent for post-mortem examination.
The uncle said, "Rayhan was killed in police torture, his body bore numerous wound marks."
On Tuesday, a writ was filed in the High Court (HC) seeking an independent and impartial probe into the death of a Sylhet youth who was allegedly tortured to death in police custody.
Supreme Court lawyer Advocate Syed Fazle Elahi filed the writ petition, seeking reasonable compensation for the victim's family. The court fixed Wednesday for the hearing on the plea.