Dhaka – The High Court on Sunday upheld death sentence awarded earlier to two Islamist militants for killing a secularist blogger in Bangladesh in 2013, officials said.
The bench of justices Jahangir Hossain and Md Jahangir Hossain passed the verdict on the appeals filed by the convicts.
The court also upheld various jail terms for six others, including banned group Ansarullah Bangla Team chief Mufti chief Mufti Jashim Uddin Rahmani, as they were convicted by the trial court.
On December 31, 2015, Judge Syed Ahmed of a Dhaka Court handed down the death sentence to Mohammad Faysal Bin Nayeem Deep and Redwanul Azad Rana for killing Ahmed Rajib Hyder.
Both are students at a private university and are believed to have been radicalized by local extremist group Ansarullah Bangla Team.
Hyder, a secularist blogger known by his pen name Thaba Baba, was hacked to death by a group of machete-wielding assailants on February 15, 2013 near his home in Dhaka’s Mirpur neighbourhood.
Death row convicts Rana, who had been absconding until Feb 20, did not appeal, while the others moved the High Court challenging the trial court’s verdict.
The High Court heard the death reference of Rana.
The court sentenced six other people to different prison terms.
Jasimuddin Rahmani, chief of banned Islamist outfit Ansarullah Bangla Team, which claimed responsibility for Hyder’s killing, was sentenced to five years in prison.
Bangladesh experienced a wave of militant attacks on secularist bloggers, priests, academics, rights activists and foreign nationals by jihadist groups in 2015 and 2016.
The deadliest attack was carried out on a café in Dhaka‘s Gulshan diplomatic area killing nine Italians, seven Japanese, one Indian, US citizen and two Bangladeshis on July 1, 2016.
Two policemen and six suspected attackers were killed as army commandos stormed the café on the next morning.
Islamic State militant group claimed the responsibility of the attack, but Bangladesh insisted that the attack was carried out by home-grown militant groups.
The security forces killed more than 70 suspected Islamists in a series of anti-militant raids launched in response to the café attack.