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Bangladesh judge convicts six men of murdering activist, USAID employee

Xulhaz Mannan hacked to death in 2016

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Xulhaz Mannan, gay news, Washington Blade
Xulhaz Mannan (Photo courtesy of Facebook)

DHAKA, Bangladesh — A judge in Bangladesh on Tuesday found six men guilty of the murder of an LGBTQ activist and U.S. Agency for International Development employee.

The Daily Star, a Bangladeshi newspaper, reported Judge Md Majibur Rahman of the Anti-Terrorism Special Tribunal of Dhaka in the country’s capital sentenced the six men to death for the murder of Xulhaz Mannan and Mahbub Rabbi Tonoy, a fellow LGBTQ activist.

Mannan and Tonoy were hacked to death inside Mannan’s Dhaka apartment on April 25, 2016.

Mannan was the co-founder and publisher of Roopbaan, the country’s first LGBTQ magazine. Mannan also worked for the U.S. Embassy in Dhaka for eight years before joining USAID in September 2015.

Ansar al-Islam, the Bangladeshi branch of al-Qaida, claimed responsibility for the murders.

The Daily Star reported the six men who the judge convicted are members of Ansar al-Islam.

Two of the six convicted men remain at-large. The judge acquitted two other men who had been charged.

“On April 25, 2016, our hearts were broken when we learned of the brutal murder of our friend and colleague Xulhaz Mannan, a native of Bangladesh and beloved locally-employed member of USAID’s mission in Dhaka,” said USAID Administrator Samantha Power in a statement she released on Tuesday. “Xulhaz was a vibrant, selfless, and loving person, a fierce champion of human rights, and a courageous advocate for equality, pluralism, and inclusion for all people — including ethnic, religious, gender and sexual minorities.”

Power said Mannan “was targeted and killed for his activism and dedication.”

“He exemplified the best of Bangladesh — and USAID feels privileged that he was part of our team,” stressed Power. “Each year, USAID honors his legacy through the Xulhaz Mannan Inclusive Development Award, which recognizes a staff member who carries Xulhaz’s spirit of inclusion in our programs and policies.” 

“Today, a Dhaka court handed down a guilty verdict to six perpetrators of Xulhaz’s murder,” added Power. “We at USAID remain committed to Xulhaz’s memory as we continue to advocate for the dignity and human rights of people around the world.” 

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