A Bangladeshi court has sentenced five members of a militant group to death for killing an American blogger who criticized religious extremism six years ago.
According to the international media reports, Avijit Roy, a Bangladeshi-American, was killed in February 2015 while returning from a book fair in Dhaka with his wife.
Following the verdict of the Special Anti-Terrorism Tribunal in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, public prosecutor Ghulam Sarwar Khan said that the crime against him was proved beyond doubt and the court handed down the maximum sentence.
The lawyer said that another accused involved in the attack has been sentenced to life imprisonment by the court.
He said the six convicts were part of the Ansarullah Bangla Team, a local al-Qaeda-linked organization, and police said they were involved in the killings of several civilians and bloggers.
Ghulam Sarwar Khan said that Syed Zia-ul-Haq, who was suspended from the army, was allegedly the head of the group and masterminded the murder of bloggers, while a member of the group had been sentenced to death in absentia.
Defence lawyer Nazrul Islam said he would appeal against the sentence in the High Court.
It is believed that there were bloody attacks in Bangladesh between 2013 and 2016, in which bloggers, activists and various religious figures were targeted and the responsibility was acknowledged by ISIS or al-Qaeda-linked groups.
The worst attack took place in July 2016 at a cafe in Dhaka, killing 22 people, mostly foreigners, including seven Japanese and nine Italians and two Bangladeshi policemen.
After the attack, military commandos entered the cafe after a 10-hour battle, freeing more than 2 dozen hostages and killing five militants.
Extremist tensions in Bangladesh escalated after the cafe attack.
The government launched a crackdown after the incident, killing more than 100 alleged terrorists and arresting hundreds.