Six members of an Islamist militant group were sentenced to death on Tuesday by a court in Bangladesh for the brutal killing of two gay rights activists five years ago.
Xulhaz Mannan, 35, the editor of Bangladesh’s first magazine for gay people, and actor Mahbub Rabbi Tonoy, 25, were hacked to death in Mannan’s apartment in the capital Dhaka in April 2016.
The most serious attack came in July of 2016, when gunmen stormed a cafe in the diplomatic quarter of Dhaka and killed 22 people, most of them foreigners.
The brutal murders were part of a series of attack claimed by Ansar Al Islam, the regional arm of al Qaeda.
Of the eight defendants in the case, six were found guilty of murder and sentenced to death,
The Special Anti-Terrorism Tribunal also convicted the six of belonging to a terrorist organization, the al Qaeda-inspired domestic militant organization Ansar Ullah Bangla Team, Khan said, a group that police believe is responsible for the murders of more than a dozen activists and bloggers
Maolana Moniruzzaman Rabbani, secretary of a committee that helps run the national mosque in Dhaka, said organizers would distribute 600 000 leaflets outlining Yunus’s statement against violence and opposing discrimination against gay people.
The 73-year-old economist made the statement along with three other Nobel laureates in April 2012 following prosecutions of gay people in Uganda.
“We’ll hold a massive rally against Yunus in the capital on October 31,” said Rabbani, who is also secretary general of the Islamic Oikyajote political party, which claims to be allied with the government. “We have asked all Muslims to be united against Yunus’s move to destroy our family and society,” he said. Homosexuality is outlawed in Bangladesh.
A spokesperson for Yunus declined to comment because of the sensitivity of the issue. He is currently not in Bangladesh.
The campaign is the latest aimed at discrediting and attacking Yunus in Bangladesh. Yunus was fired in 2011 from Grameen Bank, the micro-credit pioneer he founded, after he angered the current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina by joining politics briefly.
According to local police chief Mohiuddin Mahmud scores of imams joined the rally in Comilla and demanded Yunus’s execution
Bangledesh one of the poorest countries in the world and is one of the biggest recipients of Euro-diaspora charity.