Bangladesh upholds death penalties in blogger murder

04.04.2017

Bangladesh's High Court on Sunday upheld death sentences handed out to two Islamists for the murder of a secularist blogger in 2013, an official said.

The court passed the judgement more than a year after the convicts challenged the penalty handed down by a lower court in the killing of Ahmed Rajib Haider, prosecutor Jahirul Haq said.

The court also upheld various jail terms for six others, including Jashim Uddin Rahmani, leader of the banned Islamist group Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT).

A Dhaka court on 31 December 2015 sentenced Mohammad Faysal Bin Nayeem Deep and Redwanul Azad Rana to death for the murder of Haider, a blogger known by his pen name Thaba Baba. Deep and Rana were students at a private university and are believed to have been radicalised by the ABT.

Rana has been in hiding since 15 February 2013, when Haider was hacked to death by machete near his home in Dhaka's Mirpur neighbourhood. He was sentenced in absentia.

In the years following the Haider murder, Bangladesh experienced a wave of militant attacks on bloggers, priests, academics, rights activists and foreign nationals by jihadist groups.

The deadliest attack was carried out on 1 July 2016 at a cafe in Dhaka's Gulshan diplomatic area, killing nine Italians, seven Japanese, an Indian, a US citizen and two Bangladeshis. Two policemen and six suspected attackers were killed as army commandos stormed the cafe the next morning.

In the last nine months, the security forces have killed more than 60 suspects in a series of anti-militant raids launched in response to the cafe attack.     (dpa)

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