The High court has released the full text of its verdict reconfirming the death penalties handed down to two militants for killing blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider in 2013.
The verdict, which was published on Sunday, is available on the Supreme Court website.
The release of the full verdict has cleared the way for the convicts – banned militant group Ansarullah Bangla Team members Md Faisal Bin Nayem alias Dweep and former Shibir leader Redwanul Azad Rana – to move the Appellate Division against the High Court judgement.
On April 2, the High Court upheld a speedy trial tribunal verdict that sentenced Nayem and Rana to death for the murder.
On December 31, 2015, the special tribunal handed the death penalties to the duo for masterminding the murder of blogger Rajib and also fined them Tk10,000 each.
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In addition, the tribunal sentenced six others to various terms of imprisonment for the murder, including a five-year sentence for Mufti Jashim Uddin Rahmani, the spiritual leader of Ansarullah, which is affiliated with al-Qaeda.
Al-Qaeda’s Bangladesh wing Ansar al-Islam had claimed responsibility for the murder.
On March 15, 2015, the DMP announced a bounty of Tk5 lakh for Rana, a top leader of the outfit, for masterminding the murder of Mukto-Mona blog founder Avijit Roy on February 26 the same year. Avijit's wife and co-writer Rafida Ahmed Banna was seriously injured in the attack.
Rana had instructed to attack blogger Asif Mohiuddin, and also planned attacks on two teachers of Monipur High School, police said. He was arrested on February 20 this year.
Rajib, known as Thaba Baba to the blogging community, was hacked to death on February 15, 2013 near his Pallabi residence, only 10 days into the historic movement at Shahbagh demanding death penalty for the 1971 war criminals and a ban on Jamaat-e-Islami and its student body Islami Chhatra Shibir.
A day after the murder, the victim’s father Nazim Uddin filed a murder case with Pallabi police station.
According to the charge sheet, the convicts – all expelled students of North South University – were instigated by Shibir leader Rana to commit murder of atheists and secularists.
Several top Ansarullah leaders, Rana and some of the convicts used to visit Hatembagh mosque in Dhanmondi area to listen to the Friday sermons given by Rahmani, a former leader of Islami Andolon Bangladesh's Barisal unit who in 2010 established Markazul Uloom Al Islamia Madrasa and Mosque.
Rahmani professed bloggers who demean Islam or Allah or Muhammad should be killed as per the Islamic rule. He supported Jamaat-e-Islami and Hefazat-e-Islam among Bangladeshi Islamist groups and had asked the local youths to join jihadist groups like al-Qaeda and Taliban in different countries where the Muslims were persecuted.
Since 2013, al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) has claimed responsibilities for 11 murders in 13 machete attacks carried out on war crimes trial campaigners, secularists and LGBT rights activists. Blogger Rajib was the second target of the group.