Fri | Aug 18, 2017

2 men arrested for alleged involvement in restaurant attack

Published:Friday | August 5, 2016 | 8:00 AM
British national Hasnat Karim, center left, and University of Toronto student Tahmid Hasib Khan, center right, are taken before court in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2016. Two men who had not been heard from since last month's restaurant attack in Bangladesh were arrested Thursday on allegations they were involved in the deadly siege carried out by radical Islamists.

NEW DELHI (AP):

Two men who had not been heard from since last month's restaurant attack in Bangladesh were arrested on Thursday on allegations they were involved in the deadly siege carried out by radical Islamists.

British national Hasnat Karim and University of Toronto student Tahmid Hasib Khan were arrested in different areas of the capital, Dhaka, and a court has allowed police to keep them in custody for eight days to question them, said Masudur Rahman, a Dhaka police spokesman.

Five armed gunmen attacked the Holey Artisan Bakery restaurant on the night of July 1, killing 20 people and holding others inside hostage. Security forces stormed the restaurant on July 2, killing the gunmen and rescuing the remaining 13 hostages. Those killed were nine Italians, seven Japanese, three Bangladeshis and one Indian.

 

CONFLICTING REPORTS

 

Karim, 47, and Khan, 22, were known to have been inside the restaurant, but Bangladeshi authorities and police denied having them in custody after the attack. Their families and New York-based Human Rights Watch had appealed for news about them and said the authorities were holding the men.

Karim was in the restaurant with his wife and two daughters, and the family had said they were there to celebrate the birthday of their daughter.

But a South Korean man from a nearby apartment had shot a video of the scene in the restaurant in which Karim was seen talking to the attackers.

Police also said there were photographs showing Karim smoking on the rooftop of the building with two of the attackers standing behind him.

"We are taking them to a court and we have already sought 10 days' police custody for further questioning," Rahman said soon after the arrests.

Hours after his arrest, Karim's family said he was innocent and should be released immediately.

"He had no links to any terrorist group or organisation. He and his family were celebrating his daughter's 13th birthday when they became victims of a terrorist attack," Rodney Dixon, the family lawyer, said in a statement.