Two get death term for Bangladeshi blogger's death

Indo Asian News Service

Dhaka, April 2 (IANS) The High Court here on Sunday confirmed the death sentence for two persons and different terms in jail for six others for killing Bangladeshi blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider.

The two death row convicts are Redwanul Azad Rana and Faisal Bin Nayem alias Dweep, the Daily Star reported.

Rana is also the main suspect in writer-blogger Avijit Roy's killing.

Blogger Rajib, who was an activist of Shahbagh movement and used to write against Jamaat-Shibir and war criminals on different blogs under the pseudonym Thaba Baba, was hacked to death near his Mirpur house in the capital on February 15, 2013.

On December 31, 2015, a Dhaka court handed down death penalty to the duo while handing down different terms in jail to the six persons, including chief of banned militant outfit Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT), for killing Rajib.

Among the jailed convicts, ABT chief Mufti Jasimuddin Rahmani, 45, was awarded five-year jail term as he was found guilty of provoking Rajib's murder through his sermons.

Five other convicts -- Maksudul Hasan alias Anik, Ehsan Reza Rumman, Nafis Imtiaz, Nayem Sikdar Irad and Sadman Yasir Mahmud -- were also students of a private university in 2013.

The convicts, except Rana, have filed separate appeals with the High Court, challenging their sentences awarded by the trial court.

While passing the verdict, the court said there is no scope to reduce the sentences of the convicts in this case as the Rajib killing incident is so horrendous.

The High Court bench of Justice Jahangir Hossain and Justice Md. Jahangir Hossain came up with the verdict after hearing the death reference and appeals filed by the convicts.

In January this year, the court kept its verdict pending after concluding hearings of the death references and appeals, the bdnews24.com reported.

The Detective Branch pressed charges against ABT chief Rahmani and seven North South University (NSU) students in January 2014 in the case filed by the slain blogger's father.

The trial began in March that year after the court indicted the eight.

On December 31, 2016, a speedy trial tribunal found all of them guilty of the charges levelled against them.

The death row convicts were also fined 30,000 taka, while convict Hasan Anik received a life term along with a fine of 10,000 taka. An added year of imprisonment had also been ordered upon failure to pay the fine.

Jail terms of ten years each were awarded to Nayeem Irad and Nafij Imtiaj along with a fine of 5,000 taka.

Convict Saddam Yasir Mahmud has got three years in jail while militant leader Mufti Rahmani got a five-year prison term.

The police have found ABT responsible for the deaths of several other writers, bloggers and activists of the Ganajagaran Mancha.

The verdict on Rajib's murder is the first among these cases.

--IANS

sm/vt