Bangladesh Court Exonerates Canadian Resident of Complicity in Café Attack

Kamran Reza Chowdhury
2016.10.05
Dhaka
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161005-BD-khan-620.jpg Tahmid Hasib Khan, a University of Toronto student, walks with officials after appearing in a Dhaka court where he was exonerated of complicity in a terrorist attack at a café in the Bangladeshi capital, Oct. 5, 2016.
AFP

A Dhaka court on Wednesday exonerated a Canadian resident of suspicions of complicity in a terrorist attack that targeted a café in the Bangladeshi capital three months ago.

Tahmid Hasib Khan, a student at the University of Toronto, had been in police custody for weeks following the attack in which militants killed 20 hostages at the Holey Artisan Bakery café on July 1.

“The court has cleared Tahmid Hasib Khan…. We are happy about the court order. Finally, he gets justice,” Motiur Rahman, Khan’s lawyer, told BenarNews.

Khan was among patrons at the restaurant, but he was arrested over allegations that he and another patron, British citizen Hasnat Karim, had behaved suspiciously during the overnight terrorist siege.

Khan was freed on bail on Sunday, but Karim remains in custody.

Rahman described his client as a “victim of circumstances,” when he went to the café in Dhaka’s diplomatic quarter to meet a friend moments before five armed militants stormed into the restaurant.

Khan, however, still faces the possibility of being charged and prosecuted for allegedly not cooperation with investigators in the aftermath of the attack.

“The court will hear the case on Oct. 16,” Rahman said.

Khan could face three months in prison if convicted of a charge of non-cooperation Dhaka court lawyer Sanaul Islam told BenarNews.

Under suspicion

Khan and Karim were among 32 people who survived the attack.

In the days after, the police interviewed all of the survivors but later alleged that the statements of Hasnat Karim and Tahmid Khan contained discrepancies, Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Masudur Rahman told BenarNews.

On Aug. 3, authorities arrested Khan and Karim on suspicion of abetting the gunmen who carried out in the attack.

During the siege, Khan was filmed holding a pistol and talking to militants, leading to his incarceration on suspicion of his complicity in the attack. But police said that forensic analysis showed that Khan had been forced to do so, according to a report in the Toronto Star.

In Karim’s case, police said that a mobile phone app on his phone was used to send pictures of people hacked to death inside the café by the terrorists. Those pictures were disseminated online, authorities alleged.

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