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3 years of Holey Artisan attack: Trial likely to end soon

  • Published at 12:33 am July 1st, 2019
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The case is now currently pending at Dhaka’s Anti-terrorism Special Tribunal, which is also scheduled to record more witness statements on Tuesday

On Monday, the country is observing the third anniversary of its history’s deadliest terror attack at the Holey Artisan Bakery and O' Kitchen restaurant in Dhaka’s Gulshan 2 on July 1, 2016.

On that evening, five militants armed with guns and knives had stormed the upscale cafe and took around 40 people, including restaurant staff and guests — both locals and foreigners, hostage.

Then they killed 22 people — including two police officials, nine Italians, seven Japanese, one Indian, one Bangladeshi-born American and two Bangladeshis — during the overnight terror attack.

The police officials — Salauddin Ahmed and Robiul Karim — were killed when they tried to rescue the hostages.

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The carnage ended the next morning when army commandoes carried out a swift raid, killing the five gunmen.

Since then, the trial in the case — filed at Gulshan police station soon after the attack — has made a significant progress with the prosecution hopeful of ending it very soon.

Court sources said a total of 60 out of 211 prosecution witnesses so far have testified in the seven months since the trial started.

Special Public Prosecutor Jahangir Alam Chowdhury told Dhaka Tribune: “The prosecution witnesses are appearing before the court on every scheduled date, and we hope to end the trial in the case soon.”

He also said that they are hopeful that the accused will get maximum punishment.

The case is now currently pending at Dhaka’s Anti-terrorism Special Tribunal, which is also scheduled to record more witness statements tomorrow.

On November 26 last year, the tribunal’s Judge Md Mujibur Rahman had started the trial by indicting eight accused in the case.

The eight are militants Jahangir Alam alias Rajib Gandhi, Rakibul Hasan Regan, Rashedul Islam alias Rash, Sohel Mahfuz, Mizanur Rahman alias Boro Mizan, Hadisur Rahman Sagar, Shariful Islam and Mamunur Rashid.

Prior to that, Dhaka Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit had submitted the charge sheet against the eight militants.

According to the charge sheet, a total of 21 members of New JMB, a splinter faction of banned militant outfit Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh, were involved in the planning and execution of the Holey Artisan attack.

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Police had also recommended the court to drop the names of 13 suspects from the trial process.

Five of these suspects were the attackers — Nibras Islam, Rohan Imtiaz, Meer Saameh Mubasser, Khairul Islam and Shafiqul Islam — who were killed in the commando operation carried out in the morning of July 2, 2016.

The eight other suspects were also killed during subsequent anti-militant drives in different parts of the country.

Among the remaining New JMB operatives, six are currently behind bars and have given confessional statements in court.

Of the 21 identified militants, five directly took part in the attack, while the rest were allegedly active in coordinating the assault plan, combat training, and supplying money, arms and explosives, according to the 68-page charge sheet.

The investigation also found that the attackers had prepared for six months before carrying out the attack. Their goal was to destabilize Bangladesh and attract attention of international terror groups.

Police, however, did not found any involvement of foreign militant outfits in the attack.