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Briton formally arrested over Dhaka cafe carnage

Briton formally arrested over Dhaka cafe carnage

DHAKA: Bangladeshi police have formally arrested a British national allegedly involved in the deadly Islamist attack on a Dhaka cafe that killed 22 people last month, officials said on Saturday.

Hasnat Karim, a 47-year-old Briton, had initially been detained along with Tahmid Khan, 22, a University of Toronto student, as a suspect in the attack, which was claimed by the militant Islamic State group. A court ordered Karim to be remanded in custody for eight more days after police said he was the “first person” to be formally arrested over the attack.

Karim and Khan were both inside the Holey Artisan Bakery when gunmen raided the cafe on the night of July 1, taking a group of mainly Western diners hostage and then killing 20 of them, along with two policemen.

Police had sought to hold Karim for 10 more days, saying the father of two should be questioned further as he was now the “first person to have been arrested in the case”.

“We have found some information regarding his involvement in that incident,” Dhaka Metropolitan Police spokesman Masudur Rahman said.

Karim and Khan were last week arrested under a law which allows the police to detain someone on suspicion of any crime but they were not directly linked to the attack. Karim’s lawyer maintained he was innocent.

“We’ve said that he was a victim of circumstances.

He was used as a body shield and forced to walk with the attackers at gunpoint,” Golam Mostafa said.

Khan was remanded into police custody for six days, police said. Neither Karim and Khan have been seen in public since the end of the siege when commandos stormed the cafe in the capital’s upmarket Gulshan neighbourhood on the morning of July 2.

Published in Dawn, August 14th, 2016

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