05 July 2022 :
Earlier this month, a lower court in the district of Cox’s Bazar sentenced a 28-year-old Rohingya refugee to death for the possession and smuggling of methamphetamine tablets, marking the first use of capital punishment under the 2018 Narcotics Control Act in Bangladesh, The Diplomat reported on 30 June 2022.
Md. Arif Prakash Maulvi Arif, a resident of Kutapalong Camp 2 in the Ukhia sector of the southern district of Cox’s Bazar, had been arrested in September 2019 by the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and kept in custody until February this year, when he was granted bail by the High Court Division of Bangladesh’s Supreme Court.
He fled while on bail, which the court interpreted as a sign of his guilt in the latest ruling.
Arif was tried in absentia with a state-appointed lawyer to represent him.
In addition to the death sentence, the court fined Arif 100,000 Bangladeshi taka for his crimes and sentenced him to an additional year in jail for non-payment.
The sentence will remain theoretical until and unless Arif is apprehended by the authorities.
Although the charges brought against him would not normally warrant capital punishment, the Cox’s Bazar Additional District and Sessions Judge Abdullah Al Mamun made an exception, having deemed his actions as an attack on Bangladesh’s security interests. In the pronounced verdict, Al Mamun states, “The defendant is a full grown, healthy, and normal person with discretion. He is fully aware of the provisions of Islam. Despite being sheltered in Bangladesh, the Rohingya Yabakarbari (methamphetamine smuggler) is trying to destroy the country by smuggling drugs.”