Bangladesh court indicts extremist militants for 2015 killing

In this Oct. 31, 2015 file photo, Bangladeshi activists protest against the killing of Faisal Arefin Deepan in Dhaka, Bangladesh. (AP)
Updated 14 October 2019

Bangladesh court indicts extremist militants for 2015 killing

  • In October 2015, suspected militants hacked Faisal Abedin Deepan of the Jagriti Prokashoni publishing house
  • Both victims were publishers of Avijit Roy, who was hacked to death in February 2015

DHAKA: A court in Bangladesh's capital on Sunday indicted eight suspected militants tied to a banned group over the 2015 killing of a man who published books on secularism and atheism.
Anti-Terrorism Special Tribunal Judge Majibur Rahman read out the charges to six of the suspects, who pleaded not guilty. Another two, including a sacked military official, remained fugitives, but the judge issued arrest warrants for them. Police say they belong to the banned domestic militant outfit Ansar al Islam.
In October 2015, suspected militants hacked Faisal Abedin Deepan of the Jagriti Prokashoni publishing house. On the same day, another publisher, Ahmed Rashid Tutul, survived an attack by suspected militants in Dhaka, Bangladesh's capital.
Both victims were publishers of Bangladeshi-American writer and blogger Avijit Roy, who was hacked to death in February 2015.
Several other atheists, bloggers and foreigners were killed by suspected militants in 2015. A bomb attack on Oct. 24 of that year in Dhaka aimed at Shia Muslims killed a teenager and injured more than 100 other people. Foreigners including Italian aid volunteer and a Japanese agricultural worker were also killed.
Authorities in Bangladesh say the network of the militant groups has been broken after a massive crackdown following a 2016 attack on a cafe in Dhaka in which 22 people, including 17 foreigners, were killed by five young men who belonged to the Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh group, according to police.
Daesh claimed responsibility for the 2016 attack and other attacks, but Bangladesh's government said that domestic groups were behind them, and that IS has no existence in the country.


Patten says China pursuing ‘Orwellian’ agenda in Hong Kong

Updated 25 min 29 sec ago

Patten says China pursuing ‘Orwellian’ agenda in Hong Kong

  • Chris Patten defended London’s announcement that it would grant residency and a path to citizenship for nearly 3 million Hong Kong residents
  • China shocked many of Hong Kong’s 7.5 million people when it announced earlier this month that it will enact a national security law for the city

BEIJING: The last British governor of Hong Kong criticized the Chinese government on Friday over proposed national security legislation, calling it part of an “Orwellian” drive to eliminate opposition in violation of the agreement on handing the territory over to Beijing.
Chris Patten defended London’s announcement that it would grant residency and a path to citizenship for nearly 3 million Hong Kong residents if Beijing goes through with passage of the legislation.
The law is seen as potentially imposing severe restrictions on freedom of speech and opposition political activity in the former British colony that was handed over to Chinese rule in 1997. China has denounced the offer of citizenship as a violation of its sovereignty.
“If they’ve broken the (Sino-British) Joint Declaration, if they’ve thrown it overboard, how can they then use the joint declaration as though it stops us doing something that’s a sovereign right of ours?” said Patten, now chancellor of the University of Oxford, in an online talk with reporters.
The declaration is a bilateral treaty signed as part of the handover process. China has essentially declared it null and void, while Britain says Beijing is reneging on its commitments made in the document that was supposed to be remain in effect until 2047.
China shocked many of Hong Kong’s 7.5 million people when it announced earlier this month that it will enact a national security law for the city, which was promised a high level of autonomy outside of foreign and defense affairs.
An earlier push to pass security legislation was shelved after massive Hong Kong street protests against it in 2003. However, Beijing appeared to lose patience after months of sometimes violent anti-government protests in Hong Kong last year that China said was an attempt to split the territory off from the rest of the country.
Patten said the security legislation is unnecessary because Hong Kong’s legal code already includes provisions to combat terrorism, financial crimes and other threats to security.
“What Beijing wants is something which deals with those rather worrying Orwellian crimes like sedition, whatever that may be,” Patten said.
China may also be seeking grounds to disqualify opposition candidates from running in September’s election for the local legislature by accusing them of being disloyal, he said.
Beijing has ignored promises that Hong Kong could democratize of its own accord after the handover, Patten said. The US should unite with other democratic countries to oppose underhanded tactics by Beijing, he said.
“It’s the Chinese Communist Party which attacks us, which hectors, which bullies, which tells companies which have roots in our countries, that unless they do what China wants, they won’t get any business in China,” Patten said. “That’s the way the Mafia behave, and the rest of the world shouldn’t put up with it, because if we do, liberal democracies are going to be screwed.”