Sunday, March 24, 2019

Sacked army officer Zia, blogger Farabi among six charged with Avijit Roy murder

  • Court Correspondent, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2019-03-14 23:44:42 BdST

bdnews24

Police have charged six people, including sacked army officer Syed Ziaul Haq and “extremist” blogger Safiur Rahman Farabi, over the murder of writer Avijit Roy.

The Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime or CTTC unit of police submitted the charge-sheet to the court four years after the murder near the Amar Ekushey Book Fair in the capital on Thursday.

Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate Srafuzzaman Ansari received the charge-sheet and fixed Mar 25 as the next date of hearing, court police’s General Recording Officer SI Nizam Uddin Munshi told bdnews24.com.

Zia is a leader of banned militant outfit Ansar Al Islam, previously Ansarullah Bangla Team, according to the charge-sheet submitted by CTTC Inspector Muhammad Monirul Islam.  

Avijit Roy was attacked in front of the Dhaka University TSC intersection on Feb 26, 2015 as he was returning from the Ekushey Book Fair with his wife Rafida Ahmed Bonya.

The son of noted physicist Ajay Roy, Avijit lived in the US. In addition to writing on various scientific issues, he was the founder of the popular blog ‘Muktomona’.

He had come to Bangladesh to take part in the book fair despite threats from militants.

Prof Ajay Roy filed a case over his son’s murder at Shahbagh Police Station soon after the incident. He has expressed his disappointment about the slow progress of the investigation.

THE ACCUSED

The six named in the charge sheet are:

1.       Syed Ziaul Haq, who is known as a sacked military major. His name in the organisation was Sagor aka Ishtiaque aka Boro Bhai

2.       Md Mozzammel Hossain aka Simon aka Shahriar

3.       Md Abu Siddiq Sohel aka Sakib aka Sajid aka Shahab

4.       Md Arafat Rahman aka Siam aka Sajjad aka Shams

5.       Akram Hossain aka Abir aka Adnan aka Hasibul aka Abdullah

6.       Safiur Rahman Farabi

Of the accused, Ziaul Haq and Abir are absconding. The remaining four are currently in prison.

Investigators say all of the suspects, aside from Farabi, were members of the Ansarullah Bangla Team.

Syed Ziaul Haq

Syed Ziaul Haq

Safiur Rahman Farabi

Safiur Rahman Farabi

CHARGES: ZIA ORDERED, FARABI INSPIRED THE KILLING 

The militant outfit ABT carried out the attack with a three-phase plan – intelligence, training and operations, according to CTTC chief Monirul Islam.     

“Through testimony, analysis of information and evidence collected by our detectives, we have come to the conclusion that the mastermind of the attack was sacked military official and fugitive Major Zia,” he had earlier said.

The counter-terror unit’s investigation found that 11 people were connected to the incident. RAB also arrested Farabi in connection with the case.

“Farabi had instigated Avijit Roy’s murder through a Facebook post. He was added to the case as an instigator.”

Detainees Simon, Arafat and Sohel have confessed to the court, police said.

“They confessed to their part in the murder, spoke of the others involved and how the murder was carried out,” Monirul said.

Monirul said the leader of the group that carried out the attack was Mukul Rana aka Shariful, who was killed in an alleged shootout with police in Khilgaon on Jun 19, 2016.

Investigators found the organisational aliases of 10 other perpetrators, but have not been able to uncover the names and addresses of five of them.

“If the names and addresses of the others are uncovered in the future, a supplementary charge-sheet will be submitted and they will be brought to justice,” Monirul said.