A tribunal in Dhaka has set November 27 for delivery of the verdict in a case filed in connection with the Holey Artisan Café attack that left 22 people, including 17 foreigners, dead in 2016.
All eight accused in the case, now in jail, were produced before the court yesterday when Judge Md Majibur Rahman of the Anti-Terrorism Special Tribunal of Dhaka set the date.
During closing arguments, the prosecution told the tribunal that they were able to prove the charges against the eight and sought capital punishment for all of them.
The defence sought acquittals for their clients saying the charges were brought based on confessional statements of six accused which could not be trusted.
Earlier, the tribunal recorded statements of 113 prosecution witnesses.
During the trial, several eyewitnesses, including the wife of Hasnat Reza Karim who was a teacher of North South University, owner of the Holey Artisan restaurant, and top police officials narrated their experiences of the incident.
Hasnat was first shown arrested in the case but was later relieved of the charges following a probe that found no evidence of his involvement.
On July 1, 2016, armed militants stormed the Holey Artisan Bakery at the diplomatic zone in Dhaka’s Gulshan area. Two police officers were also killed during the 12-hour standoff that followed.
On July 23 last year, Counter Terrorism & Transnational Crime Unit pressed charges against eight militant suspects who they say wanted to destabilise Bangladesh by initiating the country’s worst-ever terror incident.
The charge sheet also said apart from destabilising the country and turning it into a state controlled by terrorists, the suspects wanted to put the government under pressure, make investors and foreign consultants leave the country and destroy the economy.
The suspects thought if they could kill a large number of foreigners, they would be under local and international spotlight, alongside drawing attention of global terrorist groups, according to the charge sheet.
The eight accused are: Jahangir Alam alias Rajib Gandhi, alleged recruiter of the café attackers; Rashed alias Rash, one of the alleged planners; Sohel Mahfuz, reported grenade supplier; suspected arms suppliers Mizanur Rahman alias Boro Mizan and Hadisur Rahman Sagor, and Rakibul Islam, so-called religious trainer, and Shahriful Islam Khaled and Mamunur Rashid Ripon.
On November 26 the same year, the tribunal framed charges against the eight.