2 death-row convicts in Avijit murder case hiding abroad: Home Minister

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Dhaka, Dec 22: Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan on Tuesday said sacked Major Syed Mohammad Ziaul Haque and Akram Hossain alias Abir, two death-row convicts in blogger Avijit Roy killing case, are hiding in another country.

“We’re looking for the whereabouts of Ziaul and Akram and we’ve information that they went into hiding in another country,” he said.

The home minister came up with the remark a day after the USA announced a reward up to $5 million for information on the attack against Avijit Roy and his wife Rafida Ahmed.

He was talking to reporters at a programme after inaugurating a sculptor of a freedom fighter at Harirampur Upazila Parishad in Manikganj district.

“A fair investigation into the Avijit murder was conducted and a group of militants of the banned militant outfit Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT) took part in the killing mission. Militants were active in the country during this period but they failed to continue it due to the proactive role of the law enforcement agencies,” he said.

The U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service, through its Rewards for Justice (RFJ) office, offered the reward for information on the attack against Avijit Roy and his wife Rafida Ahmed.

The Secretary of State has authorized the reward for information leading to the arrest or conviction in any country of anyone involved in the murder of Avijit and the attack on Ahmed, according to US Department of State.

Writer and founder of Mukto Mona blog Avijit Roy, son of late physicist Ajoy Roy, was hacked to death, but his wife Banya escaped with serious injuries after unidentified assailants attacked them with meat cleavers near TSC on the Dhaka University campus on the evening of February 26, 2015, as they were returning home from the Amor Ekushey Boi Mela.

Avijit’s late father filed a murder case with Shahbagh Police Station the very next day.

On February 16, a tribunal in Dhaka sentenced five members of the banned militant outfit Ansar-Al-Islam to death and another to life term imprisonment in a case over the killing of Avijit Roy.

Judge of the Dhaka Anti-Terrorism Tribunal Md Mujibur Rahman handed down the verdict.

The condemned convicts are sacked Major Syed Mohammad Ziaul Haque, a suspected coordinator of the banned militant outfit Ansar-Al-Islam, Mozammel Hossain alias Saimon, Abu Siddiq Sohel alias Sakib alias Sajid alias Shahab, and Akram Hossain alias Abir, Md Arafat Rahman.

The tribunal also fined them Tk 50,000 each.

The tribunal also sentenced Shafiur Rahman Farabi to life imprisonment. It also fined him Tk 50000, in default, to suffer two years more imprisonment.