Eight suspected Islamist militants were on Sunday charged in connection with the 2015 murder of a secularist Bangladeshi publisher in Dhaka, officials said.
The court official, Ruhul Amin, said an anti-terrorism court in Dhaka accepted the charges against the eight suspects belonging to the outlawed Islamist group, Ansar al-Islam for the killing of Faisal Arefin Deepan.
The court also issued arrest warrants against two fugitives, including a sacked army officer, and announced that the trial of the suspects would commence Nov.18.
Deepan, the owner of publishing house Jagriti Prokashoni, was hacked to death at his office in central Dhaka on Oct. 31, 2015, the same day assailants attacked Ahmedur Tutul inside his office at the publishing house Shuddhaswar.
However, fortunately for Tutul, he survived the attack.
Both Deepan and Tutul published books by the secularist U.S. writer Avijit Roy, who was also hacked to death by Islamists in Feb. 2015, at a book fair in Dhaka.
Muslim-majority Bangladesh experienced a wave of attacks on secular writers, bloggers, academics, priests and people from minority faiths between early 2013 and 2016.
The attacks were claimed either by Islamic State or al-Qaeda or their local affiliates, but the investigators maintained home-grown militants were behind the attacks.
The deadliest attack was carried out on a restaurant in Dhaka’s diplomatic zone where 20 civilians, mostly foreigners, were killed before army commandos shot down five armed militants inside the Holey Artisan Bakery on July 1, 2016.
Meanwhile, Bangladeshi security forces killed more than 100 suspected Islamists in anti-militant raids launched in response to those attacks.