A special tribunal on Tuesday sentenced six people to death, including sacked army major Syed Mohammad Ziaul Haq, for killing Xulhaz Mannan and his friend Mahbub Rabbi Tonoy for being prominent Bangladeshi gay rights activists.
The others convicted are Mozammel Hossain alias Simon, Arafat Rahman, Sheikh Abdullah, Asadullah, and Akram Hossain.
Judge Mojibur Rahman of the Dhaka Anti-Terrorism Special Tribunal acquitted Sabbirul Haq Chowdhury and Mawlana Junayed Ahmed as charges brought against them have not been proved.
The tribunal also fined the convicted Tk50,000 each or six months in prison.
The judgement was pronounced amid heightened security, with the authorities deploying additional forces of law enforcement agencies in the court area.
Xulhaz and Tonoy were hacked to death at Xulhaz's Lake Circus Road house in Kalabagan on 25 April 2016.
Xulhaz's older brother Minhaj Mannan later filed a murder case with Kalabagan Police Station.
on 12 May 2019, Investigation officer (IO) and Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crimes (CTTC) Unit Inspector, Muhammad Monirul Islam, filed the case charge sheet against the operatives of banned militant outfit Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT).
On 19 November 2020, the tribunal, framed charges against eight accused, initiating the trial officially.
Of the accused, Mozammel Hossain alias Saimon, Arafat Rahman, Sheikh Abdullah, and Asadullah, are behind bars and were present in court for sentencing.
The rest are yet to be arrested and were tried in absentia. The four arrested accused, confessed to their crimes with confessional statements in court.
Twenty-four witnesses have testified in the trial.
An international relations graduate from Dhaka University, Xulhaz, 35, had joined the US embassy in 2007.
He also edited Bangladesh's first LGBT magazine, "Roopbaan".
Tonoy, 26, was with the Lok Natyadal theatre group and taught drama to children at an organisation called "Peoples Theatre".