Bangladesh police have charged eight Islamist militants in the murders of two gay rights activists in the country.
The Dhaka police’s counter terrorism unit on Sunday filed the charge-sheet against the eight terrorists belonging to terror outfit Ansar al Islam.
“Among them, four have been arrested and the rest are still at large,” a news agency quoted deputy commissioner of police Mohibul Islam Khan as saying.
LGBT magazine editor Xulhaz Mannan and fellow activist Mahbub Tonoy were hacked to death in their Dhaka apartment in April 2016, Gay Star News reported.
Police believe Ansar al Islam may be behind a series of murders since 2013. Islamist extremists targeted atheist journalists, activists, members of religious minorities, and foreign aid workers.
Muslim-majority Bangladesh is widely intolerant of its LGBTI population. Gay sex is illegal under Section 377 of the Penal Code.
Before his death, Mannan was the senior editor of Bangladesh’s only LGBTI magazine, Roopbaan. He also organized Bangladesh’s Rainbow Rally, a protest for LGBTI rights held on 14 April since 2014.
In 2016, a group of men Mannan and Tonoy using machetes in a gruesome display of violence. According to police, they entered an apartment in Dhaka, the capital, and then attacked their victims.