Militant held for murder of Bangladesh gay activists

Dhaka: Bangladesh police arrested an Islamic militant from a banned terror group over the hacking to death of the country’s first gay magazine editor and his friend.

Shariful Islam Shihab. Pic/AFPShariful Islam Shihab. Pic/AFP

Xulhaz Mannan (35) editor of a magazine for Bangladesh’s gay and lesbian community, and a 25-year-old fellow activist Mahbub Tonoy were hacked to death in an apartment here on April 25 by up to seven attackers carrying machetes and guns. The 37-year-old suspect, Shariful Islam alias Shihab, was arrested from Kushtia early yesterday.

“He is a member of the banned Ansarullah Bangla Team,” said Monirul Islam, chief of counter-terrorism unit of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP). The killers had planned the killing two months ago.

“They killed the gay rights activists because they were creating confusion about Islam,” Islam said. He was produced before the court, which placed him on three-day remand. Police said Shihab owned one of two guns that were used in the twin murders.

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