One of the convicts being escorted by police

Bangladesh court awards death penalty to 5 militants for killing writer Avijit Roy

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Banned militant outfit Ansar Al Islam-linked convicts murdered Bangladesh-origin US national Avijit Roy in Dhaka in 2015

DHAKA, Bangladesh: A court in Bangladesh on Tuesday gave death sentences to five members of banned militant outfit Ansar Al Islam and life in prison to another for the brutal murder of a Bangladeshi-American writer/blogger.

On Feb. 26, 2015, Avijit Roy was hacked to death on the Dhaka University campus in the nation’s capital on his way to attend the country’s largest book fair with his wife, Rafida Ahmed Bonya.

Bonya was seriously injured while attempting to save her husband from the attack.

Judge Md. Majibur Rahman of the Anti-Terrorism Special Tribunal in Dhaka announced the verdict. The court also fined each of the defendants 50,000 Bangladeshi taka ($590).

The court said that the militants killed Avijit to muzzle freedom of expression.

The four defendants who got death sentences included a sacked army major, and two of the defendants remain fugitives.

The charges against the accused were filed in August 2019.

Dhaka Public Prosecutor Md Abdullah Abu told reporters after the verdict that the prosecution successfully proved the defendants’ involvement in Avijit’s murder.

“We are satisfied with the verdict of the court as a message has been sent to everyone that there is no mercy for any crime,” he said.

However, the defense counsels said they were not satisfied with the verdict and will appeal to the High Court.

Last week, eight members of the banned Ansar Al Islam outfit got death sentences for killing a publisher, Faisal Arefin Dipan, for publishing Avijit’s writings, also in 2015.

Bangladesh has so far banned nine regional militant groups, including Ansar Al Islam.

–IANS

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