A Dhaka court will deliver its verdict today in a case filed over the sensational murder of LGBT activist Xulhaz Mannan and his associate Mahbub Rabby Tonoy.
Eight members of the banned militant group Ansar Al Islam, including its military wing commander Major (sacked) Syed Md Ziaul Huq, are the accused in the case.
Four of the accused -- Zia, Akram, Sabbirul and Zunaid – remained fugitive while the rest were arrested and sent to jail.
On August 23, Judge Md Majibur Rahman of the Anti-Terrorism Special Tribunal of Dhaka fixed the date for the delivery of the verdict after the completion of arguments from the prosecution and the defence.
Public Prosecutor Ghulam Sarwar Khan Zakir said, “The verdict in the case would be delivered around 12:00pm today.”
The tribunal recorded statements of 24 prosecution witnesses in the case filed with Kalabagan police station in the capital.
On July 28, 2019, the Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime unit of Dhaka Metropolitan Police submitted a charge sheet against the eight militants.
According to the case statement, on April 25 in 2016, Xulhaz and Tonoy were hacked to death inside his apartment in Kalabagan area of the capital.
The attack was one of a series of militant-linked assassinations of secular activists and religious minorities. Investigation found Islamist militants responsible for the killings of Xulhaz and Tonoy.
Xulhaz, 35, joined the US embassy in 2007 before taking up what would turn out to be his last assignment at the USAID. He also edited Roopbaan, Bangladesh’s first LGBT magazine.
Tonoy, 26, was involved with the Lok Natyadal theatre group. He taught drama to children at an organisation called the People’s Theatre.
The case was filed by Xulhaz’s brother Minhaz Mannan against unidentified people with the local police station.