BANGLADESH: COURT SENTENCES 5 TO DEATH FOR KILLING US BLOGGER AVIJIT ROY
February 16, 2021:
A court in Bangladesh on 16 February 2021 sentenced five men to death and one to life in jail for hacking a secular blogger to death six years ago in Dhaka. (Source: bbc, 16/02/2021)
Avijit Roy, based in the US and of Bangladeshi origin, was attacked with machetes as he left a book fair in the apital in February 2015.
Roy, an atheist, had angered hardliners with his writings on religion.
His wife Rafida Ahmed was with him when the attack took place as they left the Dhaka University campus. She was critically wounded, but survived.
The assault was carried out by a banned group, Ansar al-Islam, which is believed to be linked with al-Qaeda, the court heard.
Two of the group were tried in absentia, including former army major Syed Ziaul Haque, who is accused of leading the attackers. He was sentenced to be hanged for murdering Roy, as were four others: Abu Siddique Sohel, Mozammel Hossain, Arafat Rahman and Akram Hossain, who along with Syed Ziaul Haque is still on the run.
Shafiur Rahman Farabi was given life in jail, after being arrested in March 2015.
In June 2016 police said they had shot dead the main suspect - a man they named as Sharif - in the killing of Roy in a gun battle near the capital.
"Charges against them were proved beyond any doubt. The court gave them the highest punishment," public prosecutor Golam Sarwar Khan said after the verdict outside the Special Anti-Terrorism Tribunal in Dhaka.
Lawyers for the defence plan to appeal.