A total of 114 out of 201 prosecution’s witnesses, including several eyewitnesses, testified before the Dhaka Anti-Terrorism Special Tribunal dealing with the case against eight accused
The trial in the case filed over the 2016 Holey Artisan terror attack in Dhaka, the worst in the country, is expected to be completed by end of November.
Five armed militants stormed the upscale eatery in the diplomatic zone in Gulshan on July 1, 2016 and held the diners hostage before brutally killing 20 of them — three Bangladeshis, seven Japanese, nine Italians and one Indian. Two police officials were also killed during the 12-hour standoff.
Court sources said recording testimony of prosecution witnesses were already completed on Sunday with the testimony of the investigation officer (IO) of the case and Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit Inspector Humayun Kabir.
A total of 114 out of 201 prosecution’s witnesses, including several eyewitnesses, testified before the Dhaka Anti-Terrorism Special Tribunal dealing with the case against eight accused.
After the end of the depositions by the prosecution’s witnesses, Judge Mujibur Rahman of the tribunal had set on Wednesday for recording statement of defence witness in the case.
After the deposition of the statements, two to three days of hearing would be needed for the closing arguments of the prosecution and the defence. Then the court will fix a date for the delivery of verdict.
Mentioning that prosecution is trying their level best to conclude the trial within the shortest time possible, Special Public Prosecutor of the tribunal Md Golam Sarower Khan Zakir told Dhaka Tribune: “We are hopeful that the trial in the case would be completed by next month as the case is now nearing an end.”
The newly state appointed prosecutor furthered: “We will seek maximum punishment for all the accused in the case while placing arguments before the tribunal as the prosecution is able to prove the allegations brought against them through depositions and evidences in the case.”
Prosecution witnesses’ depositions recorded since 2017
Earlier on December 3, 2017, the prosecution’s witnesses began sharing their testimonies before the tribunal.
During a testimony, Holey Artisan owner Sadat Mehdi, former North South University teacher Hasnat Reza Karim and his wife Sharmina Parvin recounted their traumatic experiences before the court.
Sadat Mehdi, also an eyewitness of the attack told the court that it was a war-like situation at the café on that fateful night.
After the incident, a case was filed with Gulshan police under the Anti-Terrorism Act.
After more than two years of investigation, the CTTC unit of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) submitted a charge sheet on July 23, 2018 against eight JMB men.
The accused are Rashed alias Rash, one of the planners, Jahangir Alam alias Rajib Gandhi, recruiter of the café attackers, Sohel Mahfuz, supplier of grenades, Mizanur Rahman alias Boro Mizan and Hadisur Rahman Sagor, suppliers of arms, and Rakibul Islam, a so-called religious trainer, Shariful Islam Khaled and Mamunur Rashid Ripon.
CTTC in the charge sheet mentioned that, New JMB militants had planned the attack for six months and their intention was to create “unrest” in Bangladesh and turn it into a “terrorist state.”
During probe, CTTC found involvement of 21 militants with the Holey Artisan attack. Of them, five attackers — Nibrash Islam, Mir Sabeh Mubashir, Rohan Imtiaz, Khairul Islam Payel, and Shafiqul Islam Uzzal — were killed inside the Holey Artisan Bakery in a commando operation launched to end the siege.
Besides, eight others including mastermind of the attack Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury, were killed later in different anti-militancy drives in different areas.