Bangladesh court commutes death sentences of 7 militants convicted in 2016 cafe attack

On November 27, 2019, the Anti-Terrorism Special Tribunal in Dhaka convicted and sentenced seven militants from the Neo Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh to death for their involvement in the attack, the country's worst terror incident

October 30, 2023 09:29 pm | Updated 09:29 pm IST - Dhaka

Bangladeshi policemen walk past the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka’s Gulshan area, Bangladesh, one day after heavily armed militants held dozens of people hostage at the restaurant in a bloody 10-hour standoff, July 3, 2016. Bangladesh’s High Court has commuted the death sentences of seven Islamic militants to life in prison for their role in the attack on the cafe that killed 20 people, mostly foreigners.

Bangladeshi policemen walk past the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka’s Gulshan area, Bangladesh, one day after heavily armed militants held dozens of people hostage at the restaurant in a bloody 10-hour standoff, July 3, 2016. Bangladesh’s High Court has commuted the death sentences of seven Islamic militants to life in prison for their role in the attack on the cafe that killed 20 people, mostly foreigners. | Photo Credit: AP

Bangladesh's High Court on October 30 commuted the death sentences of seven Islamist militants to life imprisonment unto death, nearly four years after they were convicted for their role in the country's worst terror attack at a popular Dhaka cafe in 2016 that killed 23 people, including an Indian girl.

The heavily armed militants attacked the Holey Artisan Bakery restaurant in Dhaka's posh diplomatic area on July 1, 2016, and took the diners hostage. They subsequently killed three Bangladeshis, seven Japanese, nine Italians and one Indian.

The militants were killed during a rescue operation conducted by commandos, and two police officers and a cafe chef lost their lives during the 12-hour standoff.

Eight suspects were killed in security raids after the attack.

On November 27, 2019, the Anti-Terrorism Special Tribunal in Dhaka convicted and sentenced seven militants from the Neo Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh to death for their involvement in the attack, the country's worst terror incident.

On October 30, a two-member bench of the High Court comprising Justices Shahidul Karim and Md Mostafizur Rahman commuted the death sentences of seven men to imprisonment until death, the Dhaka Tribune newspaper reported.

The verdict came after the conclusion of the hearing on the death case and appeals in the case, as confirmed by Deputy Attorney General Bashir Ahmed and defence lawyer Ariful Islam, the paper said.

In accordance with the Code of Criminal Procedure, any death sentences issued by lower courts are subject to review by the High Court before they are finalized.

The Islamic State group had claimed responsibility for the attack, but the government rejected it, saying the domestic group was behind it.

According to investigators, domestic militant group, Neo Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (Neo-JMB), inclined to Islamic State or IS philosophy, was suspected to have staged the attack to draw international attention and make their presence felt in the Muslim majority nation.

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