Six sentenced to death over murder of LGBTQIA+ activists in Bangladesh

Warning: This story contains mentions of brutal violence.

Six men found to be aligned with al-Qaeda have been sentenced to death for the murder of two LGBTQIA+ advocates in Bangladesh in 2016.

The founder of Roopban – Bangladesh’s first LGBTQIA+ publication – Xulhas Mannad (pictured right), and pride rally organiser Mahbub Tonoy were killed by machete-wielding attackers in Dhaka five years ago.

Proceeding found the murders were part of an orchestrated attack by Ansar Al Islam, the Bangladeshi representatives of al-Qaeda, targeting academics and athiest publishers.

Bangladeshi LGBTQIA+ advocate Shahanur Islam said they are happy with the judgement.

“At least after a long time, we get justice,” Islam said.

“But as the LGBT activist as well as anti-death penality activist, I always prefer a life sentence… instead of a death penalty.”

Back in 2016, US ambassador Marcia Bernicat said she was devastated by the brutal murder of these two men.

“We abhor this senseless act of violence and urge the government of Bangladesh in the strongest terms to apprehend the criminals behind these murders,” Ambassador Bernicat said.

Bernicat also notes that Mannan had been working with support agency USAID in Bangladesh.

USAID chief Gayle Smith also called on Bangladeshi police for justice, dubbing Mannan “the kind of person willing to fight for what he believed in.”

OIP Staff

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