Xulhaz-Tonoy murder: 6 Ansar al Islam operatives sentenced to death

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Xulhaz-Tonoy murderA Dhaka court has sentenced six people to death for the murders of Bangladesh LGBT rights activist Xulhaz Mannan and his friend Mahbub Rabbi Tonoy.

Judge Mojibur Rahman of the Anti-Terrorism Special Tribunal acquitted two others in the verdict delivered on Tuesday.

A sacked army officer, Syed Mohammad Ziaul Haque, was among the six convicts. The others who received the death sentence are Akram Hossain, Mozammel Hossain alias Saimon, Arafat Rahman, Sheikh Abdullah, and Asadullah.

The absconding Sabbirul Hoque Chowdhury and Moulana Zunaid Ahmed were acquitted of involvement in the killings.

Among the convicts, Zia and Akram are currently on the run, while Mozammel, Arafat, Abdullah and Asadullah were all in court to hear the verdict.

The six convicted were also fined Tk 50,000 each and Syed Mohammad Ziaul Haque was given an additional six-month prison sentence in another section of the law.

Xulhaz Mannan was hacked to death inside his flat at Kalabagan along with Mahbub Rabbi Tonoy in 2016.

The attack was one of a series of militant-linked assassinations of secular activists and religious minorities and claimed by Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS).

Investigations found Islamist militants responsible for the killings of Xulhaz and Tonoy.

Inspector Muhammad Monirul Islam of the police Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime unit pressed charges against eight people in 2019.

Zia, Mozammel, Arafat and Akram were also accused in the case filed over the murder of writer and blogger Avijit Roy.

The investigators reported that all of them are members of the banned militant outfit Ansar al-Islam.

Among them, Zia, Akram, Mozammel and Sheikh Abdullah were also condemned to death for the murder of publisher Faisal Arefin Dipan in 2015.

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