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Blogger Avijit murder case: Charge sheet submitted against Major Zia, 5 others

  • Published at 11:40 pm March 14th, 2019
Avijit Roy
File photo of online activist, writer and blogger Avijit Roy Collected

The CTTC unit has named six people as the accused in the case

The Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit of Police has submitted the charge sheet in the case filed over the murder of US-based Bangladeshi blogger Avijit Roy.

The CTTC unit has named six people as the accused in the case, including sacked army major Syed Ziaul Haque alias Major Zia. The other five accused are: Abu Siddique Sohel alias Shahab, Mozammel Hossain alias Saymon alias Shahriar, Arafat Rahman alias Siam, Shafiur Rahman Farabi, and Akram Hossain alias Abir alias Adnan. 

Among the accused, Zia and Akram are absconding, and all are members of banned militant outfit Ansar al-Islam, formerly known as Ansarullah Bangla Team.

According to the charge sheet, Zia ordered the murder of blogger and writer Avijit Roy during the Amar Ekushey Book Fair at the Bangla Academy on the Dhaka University (DU) campus in 2015.

Inspector of Counter Terrorism unit Mohammad Monirul Islam filed the charge sheet with the Dhaka Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's court on Thursday. A total 34 people are set to testify in the case, and the next hearing has been scheduled for March 25.

During submission of the charge sheet, the investigation officer appealed for exempting Sadek Ali alias Mithu and 14 others from the case, according to court General Registration Officer Sub-Inspector Nizam Uddin.

Although 12 people were involved in the murder of Avijit, the identities of five militants could not be confirmed and one died during a “gunfight,” the charge sheet said.

On February 26, 2015, blogger Avijit Roy, an American citizen, was murdered near the Teacher-Student Centre (TSC) of DU while attending the Amar Ekushey Book Fair. His wife Rafida Ahmed Bonya was severely wounded in the attack.

A case regarding the incident was filed with Shahbagh police station, and Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Detective Branch (DB) began the investigation. Later, the investigation was transferred to the CTTC unit.

Three of the accused who have been arrested - Arafat, Saymon, and Sohel - have already given confessional statements before the court.

How was the plan executed? 

According to court and CTTC unit sources, Saymon, Akram and Hasan were living at Elephant Road in Dhaka in 2015. 

After hatching a plot to kill Avijit and conducting reconnaissance of the blogger’s house, Akram met with Zia. The sacked army major directed him to carry out the attack at the book fair. 

On February 26, 2015, Sohel, Akram, Mozammel and Hasan went to the book fair and took position outside DU’s TSC, as per Zia’s instructions. Saymon then informed Mukul Rana, who was the leader of Ansar al-Islam’s operational branch.

At around 8:30 pm, Avijit arrived at the TSC with his wife, and the militants attacked them with machetes.  Zia was reportedly also present at the scene and helped cover the retreat of the attackers.

Shafiur Rahman Farabi, a fundamentalist blogger, has been charged with inciting Avijit’s murder.  He was arrested by the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) two months after the murder on March 2, 2105.

“Although Farabi was not directly involved in the attack, he has been charged with incitement as his writing provoked the attack,” said a CTTC unit official.

Reasons for exemption from the case

The investigation officer filed exemption applications for Sadek Ali alias Mithu, Mohammad Touhidur Rahman, Aminul Mallik, Zafran Hasan, Julhas Biswas, Abdur Sabur alias Raju Saad, Mainul Hasan Shamim, Manna Yahiya alias Mannan Rahi, Abul Bashar, Mukul Rana, Selim, Hasan, Ali alias Khalil, Anik and Antu.

Sadek Ali, Mohammad Touhidur Rahman, Aminul Mallik, Zafran Hasan, Julhas Biswas, Abdur Sabur, and Mainul Hasan Shamim were exempted from the case as the charges against them could not be proved.

Meanwhile, Manna Yahiya and Abul Bashar died while undergoing treatment at a hospital, and Mukul Rana died during a “gunfight” in Khilgaon. The remaining five accused were exempted as their identities and addresses could not be confirmed.

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