Dhaka, May 8 (IANS) A court in Bangladesh on Tuesday handed out death sentence to two militants of the banned Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) and life imprisonment to another three for the murder of a university professor in 2016.
Judge Shirin Kabita Akhter, of a special judicial body in the northern city of Rajshahi, handed the death penalty to two JMB men for participating directly in the murder of Professor Rezaul Karim Siddiquee, bdnews24.com reported.
“Three other accused, who were aware of the plan but did not participate in the killing, were handed life-term jail sentence,” said Public Prosecutor Entajul Haque.
Professor Siddiquee was hacked to death on April 23, 2016 while he was waiting for a university bus. The attack was claimed by the Islamic State terror group, which accused him of “promoting atheism”.
Bangladesh authorities and law enforcers, however, deny the presence of the Islamic State in the country.
The prosecutor said that four of the accused were present in the room when the verdict was delivered while Shariful Islam, believed to be the mastermind of the attack and a student of Professor Siddiquee, was sentenced in absentia as his whereabouts are unknown.
In November 2016, the Bangladeshi police charged eight JMB members with the murder, three of whom were killed in a shootout with the police.
More than 70 bloggers, intellectuals, people from religious minority groups and foreigners have been killed in extremist violence in Bangladesh between 2013 and 2016, giving rise to alarm in the South Asian country that has been religiously-moderate.