Five Islamist militants belonging to the banned JMB outfit were sentenced to death on Tuesday for the murder of a Japanese farmer in Bangladesh in 2015. The brutal killing was one of the first attacks targeting foreigners, minority Hindus and secular Muslims.
“They will be hanged until death,” Judge Noresh Chandra Sarker of the Special Court in Rangpur pronounced as four of the five detained convicts were escorted to the courtroom under heavy security cover.
The judgment observed that the Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) operatives murdered 66-year-old Japanese citizen Kunio Hoshi in a “pre-planned manner to defame and destabilise” Bangladesh.
Militants targeted Hoshi, a Japanese farmer who set up a farmhouse in the northwestern Bangladeshi town of Rangpur.The judge acquitted one of the six accused in the murder case while a fugitive convict was tried in absentia.
Motorcycle-borne JMB militants shot Hoshi several times when he was heading to his grass farm. Eight JMB men were initially accused in the murder of Hoshi but two of them were killed in a police encounter.
Hoshi’s murder came five days after a 50-year-old Italian aid worker was shot dead by motorbike-born militants in Dhaka’s upmarket diplomatic area.The Islamic State militant group had claimed responsibility for the attacks, but the government rebuffed it, saying the radical group had no presence in Bangladesh though officials said JMB was ideologically inclined to the foreign Islamist group.
Bangladesh has seen a spate of gruesome attacks on secular activists, religious minorities, bloggers and foreigners, many of whom have been hacked to death with machetes.
The country had launched a massive crackdown on militants specially after the July 1 Dhaka terror attack in 2016 in which 22 people, including an Indian, were killed.