A court in Bangladesh has sentenced four people to death for killing a blogger and science writer critical of hardline religious thought in 2015.
Judge Nurul Amin Biplob of the Sylhet Anti-Terrorism Tribunal told a packed courtroom on Wednesday that “if these accused are not given exemplary punishment, people of other terrorists, extremist ideologies will be encouraged to commit such killings.”
“The main purpose (of the killing) was to spread fear and apprehension among writers who wrote or spoke about liberalism, progressivism, science, and prejudice prevalent in the society through the brutality and horror of the killing,” Biplob said.
On May 12, 2015, masked men with machetes attacked and killed Ananta Bijoy Das near his home in the northeastern city of Sylhet.
Das was known for his critical writings on religions.
The four men given the death penalty for Das’s murder are Abul Hossain, 25; Abul Khayer Rashid Ahmed, 24; Faysal Ahmed, 27; and Mamunur Rashid, 25.
The fifth defendant, Safiur Rahman Farabi, was acquitted for lack of evidence but already serving a life sentence for the murder of US-based Bangladeshi blogger Avijit Roy.
Roy was killed similarly by machete-wielding assailants in the capital Dhaka three months earlier.
Roy had founded a website called Mukto-Mona (Free Thinkers) for which Das also used to write.
“Justice has been ensured through this verdict. We are satisfied,” special counsel for the state in the Sylhet anti-terrorism tribunal Mominur Rahman Titu said.
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