Listed top criminal Tofail Ahmed Joseph was released from jail custody on Sunday on a presidential clemency nearly two years after his family started lobbying for the release.
He was reportedly released from Dhaka Medical College Hospital Sunday night. Dhaka Central Jail senior jail superintendent Jahangir Kabir told media that they received the copy of his release on Sunday and he was released afterword.
Jailor of the jail Mahbubul Alam Milon, however, claimed that he was not aware of the release.
Home affairs minister Asaduzzaman Khan said that they had followed due process of law as Joseph filed a petition for presidential clemency.
‘He has already served over 20 years in jail and over a year of his jail term is now left to serve. The president approved him clemency sought for his treatment aboard,’ the home minister told reporters at the ministry.
According to the documents at the prisons headquarters, Joseph was serving 30-year imprisonment in a murder case and another 12-year in an arms case. His lawyer Manjur Mohammad Shanewaz Tipu could not detail where his client went after the release.
Joseph is the brother of Bangladesh Army’s quarter master general Lieutenant General Aziz Ahmed and another listed top criminal Harish Ahmed, now in abroad. Their brother Sayeed Ahmed was shot dead in 1990s.
Lieutenant General Aziz of the 8th BMA long course, one of longest serving director general in the Border Guard Bangladesh between December 2012 and December 2016, is one of the most senior generals after the army chief General Abu Belal Muhammad Shafiul Huq, whose tenure would expire on June 25.
Until his arrest in 1996, Joseph was wanted in 11 cases. Joseph was sentenced to death in the murder case of businessman Mostafizur Rahman, killed on May 7, 1996.
A court in Dhaka on April 25, 2004 sentenced Joseph and another convict Masud Jamadar to death and Joseph’s brother Haris Ahmed, Kabil Sarkar and Anis Ahmed to imprisonment for life term. The High Court on September 20, 2007 upheld the death sentence of Joseph and life imprisonment of Kabil, but acquitted Masud of the murder charge.
In December 2015, the Appellate Division commuted the death sentence of Joseph. In June 2016, the family of Joseph started lobbying to have his life-term jail commuted and his mother Renuja Begum filed a petition for clemency on June 7, 2016, stating that her son was serving the sentence given ‘unfairly’.
Before his release, Joseph used to spend most of the time under treatment at the prison cell of Bangabadhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University and Dhaka Medical College Hospital.
According to media reports, the possible date of his serving out the sentences was on January 24, 2038, if he paid fine, otherwise on January 24, 2039.