Tahmid Hasib Khan, who was arrested for “instigating” the Gulshan café attackers and also charged with hiding information from police, is now free.
A Dhaka court yesterday (16th April) acquitted Tahmid, on bail, of a charge filed for not giving information to police about the terrorist attack on Gulshan Holey Artisan Bakery on July 1 last year.
“Tahmid has been acquitted as the charge against him was not proved through the depositions of eight prosecution witnesses before the court,” Metropolitan Magistrate Mahmudul Hasan said in its short verdict.
Tahmid was present at the court during the verdict.
Soon after the verdict, Tahmid’s lawyer Masud Arif Bhuiyan told that he was satisfied with the verdict.
Officials of Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime unit arrested Tahmid on August 3 in the city under section-54 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) for “instigating” the Gulshan café attackers.
On October 2, police submitted a probe report before a Dhaka court, saying that they found no evidence of his links to the Gulshan attackers or any other militants.
Tahmid was granted bail that day.
In the report, investigation officer of the Gulshan café attack case Inspector Humayun Kabir of the CTTC unit, however, said Tahmid had withheld information about the Holey Artisan Café attack even though he was asked for information repeatedly.
The same day, the court asked the law enforcers to press charges against Tahmid for hiding information.
Tahmid, a Toronto university student, and Hasnat Reza Karim, a former teacher of a private university, grabbed media and social media attention after photographs and video footage showed they were apparently having conversations with the attackers during the siege.
Tahmid came to Dhaka a day before the attack on July 1, when armed militants held diners and staffers hostage in the café.
The attackers killed 20 hostages — nine Italian, seven Japanese, two Bangladeshis, one Indian and one Bangladesh-born US citizen — and two police officials who tried to end the standoff soon after it began around 8:40pm.
Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.
Tahmid went to the restaurant with two female students of a private university, who survived the attack.
Hasnat, also a British citizen, was also arrested under section-54 of CrPC on August 3 last year.
Section-54 says police can arrest any person on suspicion without any arrest warrant.
On August 13, Hasnat was shown arrested in the terror attack case. Tahmid and Hasnat were interrogated for several days on remand.
While police kept claiming that Hasnat and Tahmid were released after questioning, their families insisted that they never returned home and could not be reached by any means.
Hasnat went to the restaurant with his wife and two children, said family members, adding that they were celebrating the birthday of one of his daughters.
The attackers allowed Tahmid and Hasnat to leave Holey Artisan with other hostages before army commandos stormed the café to end the country’s deadliest militant attack.