Five extremists sentenced to death for writer’s murder

DHAKA (AFP) – Five extremists were sentenced to death yesterday over the brutal murder of a Bangladeshi-American writer and rights activist six years ago.

Avijit Roy, a prolific blogger and the author of 10 books including the best-selling Biswasher Virus (Virus of Faith), was hacked to death outside Bangladesh’s largest book fair by machete-wielding extremists in February 2015.

The murder, part of a reign of terror by extremists at the time, enraged the nation’s activists who staged days of protests.

The judge at Dhaka’s Special Anti-Terrorism Tribunal found six people guilty, sentencing five to death and one to life in prison, prosecutor Golam Sarwar Zakir told AFP.

Two of them were tried in absentia, including sacked army officer Syed Ziaul Haque who was accused of leading the group that carried out the attack – known as Ansarullah Bangla Team.

Roy was born in Bangladesh in 1972 and moved to the United States (US) in 2006 from where he continued to criticise the government for jailing bloggers.