The convicts are unworthy of mercy, observes the court
The Dhaka Anti-Terrorism Special Tribunal, while pronouncing the verdict in the Holey Artisan attack case on Wednesday, said the New JMB leaders and members had carried out the worst terror attack on Bangladesh soil to draw attention of international terror group Islamic State (IS).
Apart from that, the splinter group of banned militant outfit Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) carried out the monstrous attack at the upscale cafe in Gulshan to endanger public safety, the court said in its observation.
Judge Md Majibur Rahman also said that the convicts did not deserve any mercy or sympathy in sentencing, because the attack was the appalling manifestation of insanity, cruelty and brutality caused by militancy.
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The tribunal on Wednesday sentenced seven New JMB militants to death in the case, filed over the July 1, 2016 attack that killed 23 people — including 17 foreigners and two police officers.
Another accused was also acquitted by the court, as the prosecution could not prove the charges against him.
The court in its observation also said that Tamim Ahmd Chowdhury, who was killed in a police raid in Narayanganj on August 27, 2016, was the attack’s mastermind and coordinator.
The militants killed people in front of children, said the court. They kept hacking the lifeless bodies of the victims to confirm their deaths. They turned Holey Artisan Bakery into a death zone in a moment, the court added.
The court further observed that the attack was an attempt to tarnish the secular image of Bangladesh, which is known for its peace and communal harmony. It also made foreigners feel insecure here.
Because of all these reasons, the court stressed, only the maximum punishment under Section 6(2)(a) of the Anti-Terrorism Act 2009 for the convicts can ensure proper justice and give little comfort to the relatives of the victims.
Five armed New JMB militants had stormed Holey Artisan Bakery on the evening of July 1, 2016, killing 23 people overnight, taking hostages and leaving the nation shocked.
The carnage ended when an army commando team raided the cafe premises and shot the five attackers dead the next morning. Thirteen hostages were also rescued.