Dhaka: A special Bangladeshi tribunal sentenced seven of the eight suspects to death for their involvement in the 2016 Islamist attack on a Dhaka cafe that killed 20 people, including an Indian girl, the worst terror attack in the country’s history. “They shall be hanged by neck until their death,” Dhaka’s anti-terrorism special tribunal judge Mojibur Rahman pronounced at the crowded court complex in Old Dhaka as the convicts appeared in the dock under heavy security.
The convicts were found to have financed, supplied weapons, or assisted those who directly took part in the attack on Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka’s diplomatic area on July 1, 2016. The judge acquitted the eighth suspect as the prosecution side could not prove his links to the attack by the outlawed Neo-Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh.
A defence lawyer said the convicted men would appeal. The attack on the restaurant popular with foreigners shocked the nation of 160 million and unnerved businesses. Five young militants, armed with guns, sharp weapons and grenades stormed the Holey Artisan cafe, took diners hostage and killed them over 12 hours. Nine Italians, seven Japanese, an American and Tarishi Jain, an Indian student of University of California, were among the victims. The attackers were also killed in a rescue bid by army commandos.
The judge in his verdict identified Bangladeshi-Canadian Tamim Chowdhury as the mastermind of the attack, who was killed during a nationwide anti-militancy security clampdown.