Five members of an Islamist Militant Group were sentenced to death Tuesday morning in a case involving the murder of a US blogger nearly 6 years ago.
Avijit Roy, an anti-extremism blogger, was killed by members of the Ansar Ullah Bangla Team with a machete in February of 2015.
Roy was with his wife and blogger Rafida Ahmed, who were returning home from a book fair in Dhaka. Ahmed and Roy’s wife sustained head injuries and a lost finger from the attack.
Bangladeshi authorities said that “the charges against them were proved beyond any doubt” and that “the court would give them the highest punishment.” One additional member was sentenced to life in prison for this crime.
The six convicted men were all members of the al Qaeda-inspired Bangla Team. Police say this group is behind more than a dozen murders involving secular activists and bloggers.
A former army major, Syed Ziaul Haq, is believed to be the leader of the group as well as the mastermind behind the murder. Haq was tried and convicted in absentia.
Avijit was a long-time critic of religious extremism, and was likely targeted for his denouncement of al Qaeda-style groups who were active in Bangladesh. The country saw a serious attack in July of 2016 after gunmen stormed a cafe and killed 22 foreigners.
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