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A Bangladesh court has sentenced six members of a banned Islamist group to death for the murder of two LGBTQ + activists five years ago. The judge acquitted two other people in connection with the murders.

In a crowded courtroom in Dhaka on Tuesday, Judge Majibur Rahman of the Special Counter-Terrorism Tribunal ruled that six of the eight defendants would die for their crimes.

Only four of the eight defendants were present in court for the sentencing. Two others, including a former army officer, were convicted in absentia, while the other suspects were acquitted.

The six men were convicted of the brutal murder of two LGBTQ + activists in the capital Dhaka in 2016. Xulhaz Mannan, the editor of the country’s first and only magazine for the gay community, was stabbed to death along with his friend Rabbi Tonoy.



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The six murderers also belonged to Ansar al-Islam, a group that officials say is an offshoot of Al Qaeda and was banned by the Bangladesh government the year before the killings.

Five of those convicted on Tuesday had already been sentenced to death for the murders of a blogger and a publisher in 2015. Both were killed with machetes in separate incidents.

Judge said Tuesday’s conviction should serve as an example Bangladesh will not tolerate “Militancy or terrorism in any form”.

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