Police today pressed charges against eight militants over the Holey Artisan café attack two years ago, where 20 people, mostly foreigners, were killed off as hostages.
Meanwhile, Prof Hasnat Karim, a former teacher of North South University was dropped from the charge sheet as “investigation could not relate him with the militant activity”.
The charge sheet was placed before the court of Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate Nurunnahar Yesmin today, announced Monirul Islam, chief of Bangladesh’s Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit.
Inspector Humayun Kabir of the CTTC, also the investigation officer of the case, submitted the charge sheet before the court.
At a press briefing, Monirul attributed the delay to “complexities in obtaining information” as those “involved directly with the operation were killed on the spot.”
The charges brought against them are based on 75 pieces of evidence and 211 witnesses to the incident of the carnage.
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Those made accused are: “Neo-Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh” operatives Rakibul Islam Regan, Hadisur Rahman Sagor, Jahangir Hossain Rajeeb alias Rajeeb Gandhi, Aslam Hossain Rashed alias Rash, Abdus Sabur Khan alias Sohel Mahfuj, Mizanur Rahman alias Baro Mizan, and Mamunur Rashid alias Ripon and Shariful Islam Khaled, a former student of the English department at Rajshahi University.
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Of them, the first six “Neo-JMB” operatives, who gave confessional statements under section 164, are now in jail while the two others -- Mamunur Rashid alias Ripon and Shariful Islam Khaled -- are on the run.
In total, 21 people have been identified as involved with the incident, among whom 13 have already died.
The IO also appealed before the court to drop charges against Hasnat Karim, now in jail, as investigators did not find proof of his involvement with the incident.
The court will decide whether he will be included in the charge sheet or not.
Dhaka Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Md Saifuzzaman Hero will take steps on July 26 to transfer the case to the Anti-Terrorism Special Tribunal for its quick disposal.
Back on July 1, 2016, a group of militants laid siege to the Gulshan café and killed 20 hostages, including 17 foreigners. Two other police officers also lost their lives.
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Besides, five attackers and a restaurant staffer died during the Operation Thunderbolt that brought an end to the nerve-racking 12-hour hostage crisis at the posh eatery.
Since the Gulshan attack, law enforcers carried out at least 30 successful drives on militant dens where about 80 militants were killed and many arrested.