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Holey Artisan attack eyewitness testifies

  • Published at 11:45 pm February 6th, 2019
Holey Artisan Cafe and Bakery
File photo the Holey Artisan Bakery, where a group of militants carried out a barbaric attack on the night of July 1, 2016, at Gulshan, Dhaka Dhaka Tribune

Including this, 20 persecution witnesses testified before the tribunal on different dates

One of the eyewitnesses in the Holey Artisan attack, on Wednesday gave her statement before a Dhaka court recalling the event at the Holey Artisan Bakery on the night of July 1 in 2016.

Judge Majibur Rahman of Anti-Terrorism Special Tribunal in Dhaka recorded the statements of the eyewitness Sharmina Parvin.

Parvin, wife of Hasnat Karim, who was shown arrested in the Holey Artisan case and was later exempted from the charges, gave her statement which the defence cross-examined.

According to her statement, she along with her husband, a former teacher of North South University, and two children went to the café around 8:30pm on July 1, 2016 to celebrate her daughter’s birthday.

Parvin said: “We ordered food and were waiting at the last table of the bakery. All of a sudden, we saw three to four armed youths entering and started indiscriminately firing. They asked us whether we are Muslims, when we answered positively, they asked us not to be afraid.”

“After a while, we witnessed the shooting of eight to 10 foreigners, who were behind us. They had asked us to cover the eyes and noses of our children.

“After sometime, the masked militants took four people including a boy and two girls and asked them to sit beside us throughout the whole night.”

The militants put out all the lights except a light in the veranda. At around 1:30am, they brought a foreigner before us and shot him dead. They also chopped the bodies to ensure their deaths,” she said.

“They arranged sehri for us as it was Ramadan. But we could not eat, as there were dead bodies around us. They also took my husband and a boy at gunpoint to the rooftop and after five to six minutes brought them back.”

On the following day, the militants gave us a key to go out of the bakery and later, the law enforcement agencies rescued us around 7:30am.

Two more witnesses--- Md Shamsuzzaman, brother of the slain assistant commissioner Rabiul Karim and his cousin Mollah Md Anwarul Amin---also testified before the tribunal on the day.

The tribunal then fixed February 12 for the next hearing. Including this, 20 persecution witnesses testified before the tribunal on different dates.

Earlier, the trial against eight militants started on November 26, in the terror attack case. Six accused are now in jail while two accused are on the run.

On July 23, the Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit of police submitted the charge sheet accusing eight men in the case.

On July 1, 2016, gunmen stormed the Holey Artisan Bakery in the capital’s Gulshan area and opened fire and took around 40 people, including restaurant staff and guests -- both locals and foreigners – hostage.

Twenty-two people including 17 foreigners were killed in the terror attack at the restaurant.