Bangladesh: Murderers of 2 gay rights activists sentenced to death

An anti-terrorism tribunal in Bangladesh today sentenced six terrorists to death for the 2016 murder of gay rights activists Xulhaz Mannan and Tonoy Mojumdar.

Convicted murderers arrive in Dhaka courtroom for sentencing today. (Prabir Das photos courtesy of the Daily Star)

Xulhaz Mannan was publisher of Bangladesh’s first magazine for the gay and lesbian community, while his friend Tonoy Mojumdar (Mahbub Tonoy) was a gay cultural activist.

They were hacked to death in a Dhaka flat in April 2016 by men carrying machetes and guns. The murderers were soon identified as members of the banned militant group Ansar al Islam.

Bangladesh is a former British colony that has clung to Section 377 of the former British Indian Penal Code, which criminalized any consensual sexual act that is “against the order of nature”.

The terrorists who killed Xulhaz Mannan and Tonoy Mojumdar also planned to kill various free-thinkers, scholars and bloggers whose work was contrary to their extreme Islamist beliefs.

The Daily Star of Bangladesh reported:

Xulhaz-Tonoy murder: 6 Ansar al Islam operatives sentenced to death

A Dhaka court today sentenced six members of banned militant group Ansar al Islam to death for killing former USAID official Xulhaz Mannan and his friend Mahbub Rabbi Tonoy in April 2016.

The convicts are: Syed Mohammad Ziaul Haque alias Major (sacked) Zia, Akram Hossain, Mozammel Hossain Saimon, Arafat Rahman Siam, Sheikh Abdullah alias Jubair and Asadullah alias Foyjul.

The court acquitted Sabbirul Haque Chowdhury and Junaid Ahmed alias Maulana Junaid as the charges against them could not be proven.

Zia, Akram, Sabbirul and Junaid are on the run, while Mozammel, Arafat, Abdullah and Asadullah are behind bars.

Judge Md Majibur Rahman of the Anti-Terrorism Special Tribunal of Dhaka handed down the sentence in presence of the four accused.

The punishment of the fugitives will be effective from the day of their arrest or surrender, the judge added.

In the verdict, the judge observed that there was no scope for showing mercy to the convicts as their crimes were heinous.

For more information, read the full article from today’s Daily Star and the May 2016 article “Bangladeshi fundamentalists incite anti-gay violence” in Erasing 76 Crimes.

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]

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