A convicted militant is taken to court amid tight security measures in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Nov. 27, 2019. A special tribunal in Bangladesh's capital Dhaka has handed the death penalty to seven militants on Wednesday over a case of Holey Artisan Bakery cafe attack in capital Dhaka in 2016. (Str/Xinhua)
DHAKA, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) -- A special tribunal in Bangladesh's capital Dhaka has handed death penalty to seven militants on Wednesday over a case of terror attack on Holey Artisan Bakery cafe in capital Dhaka in 2016.
In a packed courtroom, Judge Mojibur Rahman of the Anti-Terrorism Special Tribunal handed down the verdict in presence of all the eight accused.
The court, however, acquitted one accused in the case as allegations brought against him was not proved.
Five gunmen stormed the Holey Artisan Bakery cafe in Dhaka's diplomatic area Gulshan on July 1, 2016 and took several dozen hostages.
They then brutally killed the hostages with guns and machetes, and used the victims' phones to publish images of the bodies on the social media.
More than 20 people were killed in the attack, including nine Italians, seven Japanese, two Bangladeshis, an Indian and a Bangladeshi-born U.S. citizen.
The gunmen also killed two Bangladeshi police officers in the early hours of the attack.
About 12 hours after the attack, the Bangladesh army stormed the restaurant, killing the five attackers.
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant claimed responsibility for the attack. But Bangladeshi authorities rejected the claim, saying members of a banned local militant outfit plotted the attack.
Security has been tightened in Bangladesh since the Spanish cafe attack.
Neo-JMB, an offshoot of banned militant outfit Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), is blamed for the attack.
Monirul Islam, chief of Bangladesh's Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit, in July last year submitted the charge sheet against the accused in the case. He had earlier said the accused are the members of Neo-JMB.
Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury, a Bangladeshi-Canadian, and Sarwar Jahan, identified as Neo JMB chief who was killed during a raid on Oct. 8, 2016, have been blamed as the mastermind of the brutal attack.
Chowdhury was also killed in a police raid on Aug. 27, 2016.
Since the cafe attack, Bangladeshi police have conducted series of large-scale operations against militants, in which dozens of militants were killed.