Bangladeshi court sentences four Islamist activists to death for murder of writer Humayun Azad

Humayun Azad, a leading author and professor of Bengali literature, was stabbed and seriously injured on the campus of the University of Dhaka while returning home from a book fair in February 2004.

Humayun Azad, a leading author and professor of Bengali literature, was stabbed and seriously injured on the campus of the University of Dhaka while returning home from a book fair in February 2004.

A local Bangladeshi court on Wednesday handed down the death sentence against four militants of a banned Islamist group for the 18-year-old murder of a famous writer and professor of literature at Dhaka University, Humayun Azad.

“They will be hung by their necks until they are dead,” Dhaka Extra Sessions Judge Mohammad Al Mamun said as two of the convicts lay in the dock while two others stood trial in absentia because they are on the run from justice.

The judge ordered police to find the fugitives and take steps to send them to the gallows, court officials said.

All of the convicts were agents of the banned Jamaatt-ul-Mujahideen (JMB).

Prominent author and Bengali literature professor Humayun Azad was stabbed and seriously injured on the Dhaka University campus as he returned home from a book fair in February 2004. Police said three youths attacked him and detonated two bombs to escape.

Azad was first treated at the Combined Military Hospital (CMH) in Dhaka, where his condition apparently improved. He later traveled to Germany for academic research work as well as further treatment, but died a few days later.

Azad’s brother first filed a complaint with the police alleging that unknown assailants had tried to kill him, but after his death the case was turned into a murder case as reports from the German doctor and the Autopsy confirmed that he was in fact dead as a result of the attack on him in Dhaka, when he lost a huge amount of blood from deep wounds in his neck.

Azad has earned the ire of JMB and other activists and extremists because of his writings challenging sectarian thinking. A few days before the attack, he wrote a book criticizing some Pakistanis for their role before Bangladesh’s independence in 1971.

Azad’s book “Pak Sar Jamin Sad Bad” was deeply critical of Pakistanis and their Bangladeshi collaborators before Bangladesh’s independence in 1971.

“Pak Sar Jamin Sad Bad” is also the first line of the Pakistani national anthem.

Under Bangladesh law, the case will now be referred to the High Court Division of the Supreme Court for mandatory review while the convicts wait to exhaust the process.