Bangladesh sentences Islamist militants for killing secular writer

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Four Islamist militants have been sentenced to death for killing a prolific Bangladeshi writer more than 18 years ago.

District judge Al Mamun handed down the verdict to the militants from the outlawed Islamist group Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) for the murder of Humayun Azad, a former professor of Dhaka University, prosecutor Abdullah Abu said on Wednesday.

Investigators said stress, anxiety and underlying injuries from the attack caused Azad’s death.

After lengthy investigations, they brought murder charges for the five attackers from the JMB, who are also blamed for multiple terrorist attacks in Bangladesh.

Two of the convicts were present when the verdict was pronounced, said state counsel Bipul Debnath.

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Two others are at large while the fifth was shot dead by police during an escape attempt from a prison van in 2014.

The attack on Azad came few days after one of his famous novels, “Pak Sar Jamin Sad Baad,” which translates as “Blessed be the Sacred Land.”

The work criticised Islamic fanatics and was published at the 2004 book fair.

The book was based on an imagined radical Islamist political party that wants to rule Bangladesh by Sharia law.

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