Seven to stand trial in Bangladesh for Italian’s murder

Dhaka, Oct 25 (IANS/AKI) A court here on Tuesday indicted seven people including an opposition party leader for the murder of Italian aid worker Cesare Tavella in an ambush claimed by the Islamic State.

Judge Kamrul Hossain Molla set a preliminary trial hearing for November 24.

Molla ordered Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) joint secretary M.A. Qayum, his brother Abdul Matin and five others to stand trial for last year’s killing of 50-year-old Tavella in Dhaka.

Qayum planned the murder of Tavella as part of a conspiracy to kill any white-skinned foreigner to create trouble for the government, according to the chargesheet.

Matin coordinated the murder and hired three assassins to kill a “white man”, it said.

The BNP has condemned Qayum’s indictment saying it was politically motivated. Qayum and another of the accused are on the run.

Tavella was shot dead by gunmen aboard a motorbike while he was out jogging in Dhaka’s diplomatic enclave of Gulshan on September 28, 2015.

Although the Islamic State quickly claimed the murder, the Bangladeshi government trashed the claims, saying the killing was carried out by local hoodlums hired by an opposition party.

Tavella’s murder spooked the country’s expatriate community and threatened its fragile economy, which is heavily reliant on foreign aid and a 25 billion garment industry supplying clothing for international brands.

Many of the nine Italians killed in a terrorist attack claimed by IS on a cafe in Dhaka’s diplomatic district in July worked in the garment trade.