Crime & Justice

Bangladesh court sentences 5 extremists to death for killing blogger

Dhaka, Feb 16 (EFE).- A court in Bangladesh on Tuesday awarded death sentence to five members of a banned Islamist outfit, linked to the al Qaeda terror group, and life imprisonment to one for killing a liberal writer and blogger in 2015.

Judge Mojibur Rahman of the Dhaka Anti-Terrorism Tribunal also imposed a fine of 50,000 taka (around $600) to each of those found guilty of killing the Bangladeshi-American Avijit Roy, prosecutor Golam Sharuar Khan told EFE.

Shafiur Rahman Farabi, who escaped the death sentence, will have to serve another two years in jail unless if he did not pay the fine.

Roy was hacked to death on the campus of Dhaka University, while returning from a book fair. His wife Rafida Afrin was also injured in the attack.

The judge found the six defendants, all members of the local Islamist group Ansar al Islam – including former Army officer Syed Ziaul Haque -, guilty of Roy’s murder.

Only four of the convicts were present in the courtroom when the verdict was announced, as Haque and an accomplice remain fugitives from justice.

“The motive behind his killing was blocking and discouraging freedom of expression by disrupting public security so that no one could exercise these rights in future,” said prosecutor Khan.

The blogger, who had come from the US to attend the annual book fair, was known for writing posts in support of secularism and his death caused outrage among the liberal sections in Bangladesh.

Roy’s murder was a part of the series of murders of bloggers, intellectuals, members of religious and foreign minorities that took place in Bangladesh between 2013 and 2016 by religious extremist groups in a country where 90 percent of the population is Muslim.

The four people sentenced to death for killing Roy had earlier again been given the death penalty on Feb. 10 for the murder of Faisal Arefin Dipan, owner of the Jagriti Prokashani publishing house that had published works by Roy.

Dipan was hacked to death in his office in a central neighborhood of the capital on Oct. 31, 2015, just hours after another publisher and two lay bloggers were injured in other attacks by extremists in Dhaka. EFE


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