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20 Bangladeshi ruling party members get death verdict

Twenty members of Bangladesh’s ruling political party were sentenced to death on Wednesday for beating a university student to death for a social media post that sparked nationwide protest more than two years ago, officials said.
Prosecutor Mosharraf Hossain Kajal said the judge of a special tribunal in Dhaka also sentenced five others to life in prison for the murder of Abrar Fahad, an electrical engineering student at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET).
Fahad was beaten to death by activists of the Bangladesh Chhatra League, the student wing of the Awami League party, inside a BUET dormitory on October 6, 2019.
His body was found in a staircase hours after he was called in by a group of activists from the League’s student wing for questioning regarding the Facebook post, in which he criticised a water-sharing agreement Bangladesh signed with neighbouring India.
The deal was backed by the Awami League government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. The activists used cricket stumps and skipping ropes to beat him, prosecution lawyer Hemayet Uddin Khan said.
He said the verdict was pronounced in the presence of 22 of the 25 accused. An arrest warrant was issued for the other three, who are on the run.
Fahad’s father, Barkat Ullah, who was also present at the court, told reporters that he was happy with the verdict. “I hope the verdict will be executed soon.”  
Defence lawyer Animul Ghani Titu said that his clients would challenge the verdict in a higher court.
The 2019 murder prompted thousands of BUET students to take to the streets.