Dhaka, Bangladesh – An anti-terrorism court in Dhaka has sentenced seven people to death in connection with a deadly siege in 2016 of a popular cafe in the Bangladeshi capital.
One person was acquitted by the court on Wednesday, which delivered its verdict amid tight security.
Twenty-two people were killed after gunmen stormed the upmarket Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka’s Gulshan area on July 1, 2016, in an attack that drew global condemnation. The victims included 17 foreigners.
Judge Md Majibur Rahman of the Anti-Terrorism Special Tribunal of Dhaka ordered the deaths by hanging.
“These people wanted to wreak havoc in the society and wanted to establish a Jihadist state. As their activities threatened public safety, they will be executed by hanging until they are pronounced dead,” Judge Rahman pronounced.
Hundreds of security forces, including the paramilitary Rapid Action Battalion, were deployed on Wednesday in and around the court premises in Dhaka.
Two of the convicts were seen wearing prayer caps with insignia of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, or ISIS) group.
“You will be judged by Allah in afterlife,” one of them shouted at Judge Rahman.
The seven convicts facing the gallows are: Hadisur Rahman, Rakibul Hasan Regan, Aslam Hossain Rash, Md Abdus Sabur Khan, Shariful Islam Khaled, Mamunur Rashid Ripon and Jahangir Hossain.
Another accused, Mizanur Rahman, was acquitted as allegations brought against him could not be proved.
In July last year, the Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit of Dhaka Metropolitan Police submitted a charge-sheet against eight suspects from the banned armed group Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB).