A total of 22 people mostly foreigners were killed in the deadly militant attack in 2016
On the fourth anniversary of the Holey Artisan Cafe attack on Wednesday, victims' families are still waiting for the execution of the verdict in a case filed over the militant attack that claimed 22 lives in 2016.
Relatives and those close to the victims, at home and abroad, are observing the day by paying respects and remembering them.
The Gulshan café attack case is now pending with the High Court for death reference and appeal hearing after a Dhaka court delivered the verdict last year.
After concluding trial proceedings, on November 27 last year, Dhaka Anti-terrorism Special Tribunal had sentenced seven militants of the banned Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) to death in the case.
The tribunal Public Prosecutor (PP) Md Golam Shariar Khan said: “We have sent all the documents of the case to the High Court to take the next course of action.”
“As far as I know, the case is now pending with the High Court for hearing on the appeals of the convicts and death reference hearing,” he added
On the evening of July 1, 2016, five militants armed with guns and knives stormed the cafe and took around 40 people hostage, including restaurant staff and guests, both locals and foreigners.
The militants killed 22 people — nine Italians, seven Japanese, one Indian, one Bangladeshi-born American, and two Bangladeshis — in the overnight terror attack. Two police officers, Salauddin Ahmed and Robiul Karim, were killed when they tried to rescue the hostages.
The carnage ended the next morning when army commandos carried out a swift raid, killing the five gunmen.
A case was filed with Gulshan police under the Anti-Terrorism Act following the terror attack. On July 23, 2018, the Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit filed a charge sheet accusing eight militants.
According to the charge sheet, 21 members of the New JMB, a splinter faction of banned militant outfit Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh, were involved in the planning and execution of the Holey Artisan attack.
Police also recommended the court to drop the names of 13 suspects from the trial process.
Five of these suspects were the attackers — Nibras Islam, Rohan Imtiaz, Meer Saameh Mubasser, Khairul Islam and Shafiqul Islam — who were killed in the commando operation carried out on the morning of July 2, 2016.
Eight other suspects were also killed in subsequent anti-militant drives in different parts of the country. They were -- Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury, Nurul Islam Marjan, Tanvir Kaderi, sacked Major Zahidul Islam alias Murad, Raihan Kabir Tarek, Sarwar Jahan Manik, Basharuzzaman alias Chocolate and Mizanur Rahman alias Chhota Mizan.
Of the remaining New JMB operatives, eight are currently behind bars. They are -- Jahangir Alam alias Rajiv Gandhi, Rashedul Islam alias Rash, Shohel Mahfuz, Hadisur Rahman Sagar, Mizanur Rahman alias Bara Mizan, Rakibul Hasan alias Reagan, Mamunur Rashid alias Ripon and Shariful Islam alias Khaled.
The anti-terrorism court in Dhaka sentenced seven people to death in connection with a deadly siege in 2016 of the upscale cafe in the Bangladeshi capital. One person was acquitted by the court on November 27, 2019.
The Anti Terrorism Unit (ATU) and DMP’s CTTC unit official said they are working to curb the militancy in the country.