Dhaka – Security has been beefed up as a special anti-terrorism court in Dhaka is set to pronounce verdict on Wednesday in the 2016 deadly terrorist attack on a restaurant in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka, officials said.
Twenty civilians, mostly foreign nationals, were killed after the Islamist militants carried out the attack on Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka’s upscale Gulshan diplomatic enclave on July 1, 2016.
Two police officers were also died in encounter before the army commandos killed five terrorists on the following day to end the siege and release the guests whom the militants took hostages inside the eatery.
A tram comprising senior officials from Dhaka Metropolitan Police visited the court premises and issued security guidelines to the officers posted in and around the court located in the old part of the city, deputy commissioner of police Zafar Hossain told reporters.
Judge Md Mujibur Rahman of Dhaka Anti-terrorism Special Tribunal earlier this month set the date for pronouncing verdict on Wednesday after the arguments in the case ended. The court has cross examined 113 a total of 211 witnesses from both prosecution and defence sides.
The prosecution lawyers hoped for maximum punishment for all the eight accused in the trial.
“It will play an important role in curbing militancy in Bangladesh,” prosecutor Abdullah Abu said adding that he and his team have proved the case against the accused beyond doubt.
Golam Sarwar Khan Zakir, another prosecution lawyer, said the accused must be awarded death sentence for their roles in the grisly attack.
Police filed the case under the anti-terror act with Gulshan Police Station after the deadly attack. Based on the First Information Report filed with police, the trial in the case began on November 18, 2018 after a lengthy investigation.
The investigators indicted eight people for their role in the attack. But they found a total of 21 people directly and indirectly involved at different levels to execute their plans. Thirteen of them died during the security forces’ anti-militancy raised began in response to the attack.
The eight accused are: Jahangir Alam alias Rajib Gandhi, Rakibul Hasan Regan, Rashedul Islam alias Rash, Sohel Mahfuz, Mizanur Rahman alias Boro Mizan, Hadisur Rahman Sagar, Shariful Islam and Mamunur Rashid.
They all are members of a faction of banned Islamist outfit Jamaatul Islami Bangladesh, according to the investigators. But the Islamic State, the Syria based radical Islamist group, had claimed responsibility of the attacks.