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Five militants charged for secular Bangladesh blogger’s murder

world Updated: Jul 20, 2016 21:22 IST

Demonstrators take part in a candlelight march in Dhaka to demand justice for liberal bloggers attacked of their writings. (AP File)

Five Islamist militants were on Wednesday charged for the murder of a 27-year-old secular Bangladeshi blogger, who was hacked to death by machete-wielding assailants in broad daylight in Dhaka last year.

An additional metropolitan magistrate court indicted the Ansarullah Bangla Team militants and fixed August 4 as the date for witnesses’ depositions in the murder case of Oyasiqur Rahman Babu.

Oyasiqur was stabbed to death in Tejgaon Industrial area of Dhaka in March last year.

Assistant public prosecutor Salauddin Hawlader said three suspects were produced before the court for the hearing.

The remaining two, who are absconding, will be tried in absentia, he was quoted as saying by BD News.

On the morning of March 30 last year, machete-wielding assailants hacked Oyasiqur to death near his home.

Locals managed to nab two of the attackers and handed them over to law enforcement officials while the third suspect was arrested by police later.

Police produced the trio — Zikrullah alias Hasan, Ariful Islam and Saiful — in court on Wednesday and all of them pleaded not guilty.

Madrassa students, Zikrullah and Ariful, were nabbed by locals from the spot while police arrested Saiful later. The fugitive suspects are Junayed Ahmed alias Taher and Akram Hossain.

Police said the arrested suspects confessed during interrogation that Oyasiqur was murdered for his writings on religious issues.

The blogger was working at a travel agency called Fareast Aviation as a trainer after completing his studies from the Tejgaon College in Dhaka.

Oyasiur hailed from Hajipur village in Lakshmipur district.

He was mainly active on the Facebook, where he used to write on religion, science and against communalism.

Oyasiqur was killed barely after a month after the murder of secular writer-blogger Avijit Roy on the Dhaka university campus also by machete-wielding assailants.

Protesting the killing, Oyasiqur wrote on the banner of his Facebook page — ”I am Avijit. Words cannot be killed”.

Bangladesh in the past two years has witnessed deadly attacks on liberal and secular writers and activists, and religious minorities, including Hindus and moderate Sufis and Shiites.