Bangladesh court sentences five to death for killing U.S. blogger

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A court in Bangladesh sentenced to death five members of an Islamist militant group for killing a U.S. blogger critical of religious extremism six years ago.

Avijit Roy, a U.S. citizen of Bangladeshi origin, was hacked to death by machete-wielding assailants in February 2015 while returning home with his wife from a Dhaka book fair. His wife and fellow blogger Rafida Ahmed suffered head injuries and lost a finger.

The court also jailed one man for life in the attack.

The six men convicted on Tuesday belong to the al Qaeda-inspired domestic militant group Ansar Ullah Bangla Team, which police say was behind the murders of more than a dozen secular activists and bloggers.

Syed Ziaul Haq, a sacked army major believed to be the leader of the group and who masterminded the killing, and one other member of the group were tried in absentia and received death sentences.

Nazrul Islam, defence lawyer for the six men, said they would appeal against the sentences in the higher court.

Muslim-majority Bangladesh saw a string of deadly attacks between 2013 and 2016 targeting bloggers, secular activists and religious minorities, claimed by Islamic State or al Qaeda-aligned groups.

via Reuters

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