A Dhaka court today sentenced five members of banned militant outfit Ansar al-Islam to death and another to life imprisonment in a case lodged over the murder of blogger and writer Avijit Roy.
Judge Mujibur Rahman of the Special Anti-Terrorism Tribunal pronounced the judgement, also fining the convicts Taka 50 thousand each.
The death-row-convicts are Major (sacked) Syed Mohammad Ziaul Haque alias Zia, Mozammel Hussain alias Simon, Abu Siddique Sohail alias Shakib alias Sajid alias Shahab, Akram Hossain alias Abir and Md Arafat Rahman.
The tribunal sentenced another convict Shafiur Rahman Farabi to life imprisonment and fined him Taka 50 thousand, in default to suffer two years more in jail.
Of the convicts, Major Zia and Akram Hossain are yet to be arrested and were tried in absentia. Other than these two, the remaining four convicts were present at the courtroom during the judgement and were sent to jail with the conviction warrant.
“Victim Avijit Roy laid down his life for freedom of writing and expressing his opinion. Members of banned militant outfit Ansar al-Islam killed Avijit brutally, accusing him of being an atheist. The main aim of killing him was to hinder the public safety, obstruct the freedom of expression and discourage it, so that none can write anything freely and express their opinion in future,” the court said in its observation.
Prosecutor Golam Sarwar Zakir in his reaction welcomed the judgement, saying they are satisfied with the conviction of all the six accused.
Defence counsel Nazrul Islam, however, said they are not satisfied with this verdict and would appeal against this with the High Court.
Avijit Roy was hacked by a group of militants near Suhrawardy Udyan in the TSC area of Dhaka University at around 9:30 pm on February 26, 2015. He was rushed to Dhaka Medical College (DMC) Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries at about 10:30pm.
On February 27, Avijit’s father, noted educationist Ajoy Roy, filed a murder case with Shahbagh police station.
On March 13, 2019, Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate Sarafuzzaman Ansari filed the charge-sheet implicating six persons. On April 11, 2019, Dhaka Special Anti-Terrorism Tribunal Judge Mujibur Rahman accepted the charge-sheet against the six accused.
The judge of the Special Anti-Terrorism Tribunal, Dhaka On August 1 ordered to start the trial by framing charges against the accused.
Twenty-eight prosecution witnesses out of the total 34 testified in the case and were cross-examined on different hearing dates.