2016 Dhaka cafe attack verdict on Nov 27

DHAKA: An anti-terrorism tribunal in Bangladesh is slated to deliver its verdict in the 2016 Holey Artisan cafe attack case that killed 22 people, including foreign nationals, on November 27.

Dhaka’s Anti-Terrorism Special Tribunal Judge Mohammad Mojibur Rahman set the date after hearing the arguments of the state and the defence in the case, bdnews24 reported on Monday citing Public Prosecutor Golam Sarwar Khan Zakir as saying.

The announcement comes after the eight defendants in the case pleaded not guilty to the charges related to the carnage that took place on July 1, 2016 when five armed men laid siege to the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka for 12 hours, taking dozens of hostages and killing 22, including nine Italians and seven Japanese nationals.

The Islamic State had claimed responsibility for the attack although the Bangladesh government had maintained the attack was masterminded by the jihadi group Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB). The court completed recording testimonies of 113 witnesses on October 27.

Out of the 21 suspects, 13 have been killed in raids at different times and the eight remaining accused are behind bars, said Investigation Officer Humayun Kabir.

The 13 killed in raids include the five killed in the assault to free hostages from the eatery. Between 2013 and 2016, Bangladesh had witnessed a wave of Islamist attacks against religious minorities, foreigners, gay activists, intellectuals and bloggers critical of fundamentalism. IANS