With the observing of the 4th anniversary of the Holey Artisan cafe attack, victims’ families are now waiting for the execution of the verdict in a case filed over the deadliest militant attack in the country’s history which claimed 22 lives in 2016.
The relatives and those close to the victims at home and abroad will observe the day paying respects to them on this day (Wednesday).
After concluding trial proceedings, on November 27, last year, Dhaka Anti-terrorism Special Tribunal sentenced seven militants of the banned Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) to death in the case.
The seven death-row-convicts are JMB men---Jahangir Hossain alias Rajib Gandhi, Rakibul Hasan Regan, Rashedul Islam alias Aslam Hossain alias Rash, Abdus Sabur Khan alias Sohel Mahfuz, Hadisur Rahman Sagar, Shariful Islam and Mamunur Rashid.
The tribunal public prosecutor Md Golam Sharuar Khan said, “We sent all the documents of the case to High Court for taking next course of action.”
“As per I know, the case is now pending with High Court for hearing on the appeals of the convicts and death reference hearing,” he added
The tribunal in its observation said Tamim Chowdhury was the mastermind behind the Gulshan café attack and he coordinated the whole incident.
“They killed 17 foreigners, four Bangladeshi citizens and two police officers brutally by machete, firearms and hurling grenades which left many seriously injured.”
“That was a shocking outcome of fury, cruelty and brutality of militancy. They carried out the killings in front of the children. They kept hacking the lifeless bodies of the innocent victims to make sure their death. They turned the Holey Artisan Bakery into a death zone in a moment,” the court added.
It added, “The madness, brutality, heinous and cruelty of militancy reflected through the monstrous attack on the holey artisan bakery.”
“The innocent people from home and abroad went to the bakery for diner where they suddenly became the victims of the horrific attack of militants.”
The court said, “All of a sudden the holey artisan bakery had became a death trap. The militants had tried to ruin communal harmony of Bangladesh.
“Following the attack, the foreign citizens felt insecure in Bangladesh and the militants attempted to tarnish the positive image of non-communal Bangladesh, which is known for its peace and communal harmony.”
“That’s why the accused don’t deserve any mercy or sympathy in sentencing… By giving them maximum punishment can only ensure proper justice and give little comfort to the relatives of the victims,” the court said.
Umme Salma, widow of assistant police commissioner Md Rabiul Karim, who was martyred during the attack said, “We expected that those involved in the attack would get exemplary punishment, and our expectation has been met in the delivery of the verdict in the case in last year.”
“Now, we hope the verdict will be upheld in the Higher Courts and swiftly executed the verdict,” Salma added.
According to the case, five armed militants carried out the attack on the Holey Artisan Bakery at Gulshan in the evening of July 1, 2016. They initially took the people inside the café hostage before killing many of them.
The victims included nine Italians, seven Japanese, one Indian, one Bangladesh-born American and two Bangladeshis. Besides, two police officers were also killed during the attack.
Thirteen people, including three foreigners, were rescued while 20 bodies of the hostages were recovered from the restaurant after a successful operation led by the 1st Para-commando Battalion, an elite force in the Bangladesh Army, the following morning (July 2). Five militants and one restaurant staff were killed and one suspected militant was arrested during the drive.
A case was filed with Gulshan police station in connection with the deadliest terror attack ever in the country.
On July 23, 2018, Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit of police pressed charges against eight people in the sensational case.