The prime accused in the case filed over the gang rape of a married tourist in the Cox’s Bazar last week has been arrested.
Accused Ashiqul Islam Ashiq was arrested from Madaripur district by Rapid Action Battalion (Rab), said Commander Khandaker Al Moin, director of the paramilitary force’s Legal and Media Wing.
According to the police, there are 17 cases against the prime accused Ashiq, including for assaulting women, possessing drugs and illegal arms.
Earlier in the day, Cox’s Bazar Tourist Police arrested three more accused in the case- Rezaul Karim Sahabuddin, 25, Mehedi Hasan, 21, and Mamunur Rashid, 28, from different places in Cox’s Bazar district.
Police said the individuals arrested earlier today were found to be involved in the crime indirectly during investigation.
However two other prime accused in the case Esrafil Huda Joy and Mehedi Hasan Babu are still absconding. There are two police cases against Joy, said Additional DIG of Tourist Police of Chattogram Division Mohammad Moslemuddin.
Earlier on Saturday, Riaz Uddin Chhotan, manager of a hotel that was one of two locations where the woman was raped, was arrested and remanded for four days.
With Ashiq, five people have been arrested in the case.
On Friday, the court recorded the victim’s statement, said inspector Ruhul Amin, investigation officer in the case.
On Thursday, the woman’s husband filed the case under the Prevention of Women & Children Repression Act at Cox's Bazar Sadar Model Police Station accusing seven people.
The 22-year-old woman checked into a Cox's Bazar hotel on Wednesday morning with her husband and their eight-month-old baby.
In the afternoon, the family went out for a stroll on the sea beach. At Laboni point, the husband had an altercation with one of the accused - thought to be Ashiq, who has an extensive criminal record and only got out of his last stint in jail 2 weeks ago -after they accidentally bumped into each other.
What started as a small argument soon snowballed into a major altercation and the young man called his accomplices to the spot. Later in the day they kidnapped the family in two auto-rickshaws and took them to a desolate place near the golf club where three of them allegedly violated the woman.
Her ordeal did not end there. The woman was taken to Zia Guest Inn, of which arrested manager Riaz Uddin was a friend of Ashiq's, and there the three accused again took turns to rape her for hours. They released her in the early hours of Thursday and allegedly threatened to kill her family if she narrated her ordeal to anyone.
Lieutenant Colonel Khairul Islam Sarkar, commanding officer of Rab-15, said their team rushed to the family's rescue soon after they got the call from the woman. Earlier calls to 999 proved futile.