Two men who were sentenced to death for the 2015 murder of an American blogger, Avijit Roy, have escaped from a crowded court in Bangladesh’s Dhaka, the country’s Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan told reporters on Monday.
Roy, a United States national of Bangladeshi origin a blogger who was critical of hardline religiosity in the country, was hacked to death by machete-wielding assailants in February 2015 while returning home with his wife from a Dhaka book fair.
His wife, Rafida Bonya Ahmed, also a blogger, suffered head injuries and lost a thumb in the attack.
After a manhunt, five members of an armed Muslim group were arrested, charged with the murder of Roy and sentenced to death last year, while one was jailed for life.
According to police, the convicted men belong to the al-Qaeda-inspired Ansar Ullah Bangla Team which has been fingered to be behind the murders of more than a dozen secular activists and bloggers.
However, two of those sentenced to death escaped on Sunday after bikers sprayed chemicals on the police and took the convicts away.
“A massive manhunt has been launched to capture them and their helpers,” Khan said, adding that border security officials had been put on alert to stop the men fleeing the country.
The police has also announced a reward of two million taka (about $19,350) for tracing the convicts.
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