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Seven get death in Dhaka cafe attack

AFP/Dhaka
Filed on November 27, 2019 | Last updated on November 27, 2019 at 10.42 pm
JUSTICE SERVED: Police escort extremists accused of allegedly plotting the Holey Artisan Bakery cafe attack in 2016 to a courtroom for their trial in Dhaka. - AFP

The brazen assault in July 2016 saw young men armed with assault rifles and machetes lay siege to the Holey Artisan Bakery cafe in Dhaka.

Seven extremists were sentenced to death in Bangladesh on Wednesday over a savage attack at a Dhaka cafe in 2016 that killed 22 people, mostly foreigners.

A special anti-terrorism tribunal delivered the verdict in a crowded courtroom in the capital, with judge Mojibur Rahman saying the attackers wanted "to draw the attention of (the) Daesh" group.

The brazen assault in July 2016 saw young men armed with assault rifles and machetes lay siege to the Holey Artisan Bakery cafe in Dhaka's well-heeled Gulshan neighbourhood. After a 10-hour standoff, military commandos stormed the eatery and freed more than two dozen hostages.

The extremists wanted to "undermine public safety, create anarchy and "establish a Jihad(ist)" state, the judge said, adding that the seven "will be executed by hanging until they are pronounced dead".

Nine Italians and seven Japanese were among the 18 foreigners to be hacked or shot dead in the attack, while two policemen also died. All five militants were killed when the military stormed the cafe, which was popular with Westerners.

Eight others - including mastermind Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury, a Canadian of Bangladesh descent - were killed during raids in Dhaka and its suburbs months after the attack.

Counter-terrorism police said 19-year-old Rohan Imtiaz led the attack. The attacks were claimed by Daesh but the government blamed a local militant group Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) and said their commanders were among the dead.

Police have also blamed JMB for most of the extremist attacks in the South Asian nation since the late 1990s.

University of Oslo researcher Mubashar Hasan called the verdict "a milestone", saying he hoped it would "give some sort of closure to the victims".

Japan's top government spokesman Yoshihide Suga did not comment on the ruling but thanked Dhaka "that the trial on this case was carried out promptly".


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