DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — Five members of a banned militant group were sentenced to death by a Bangladesh court Tuesday for involvement in the slaying of a Japanese agricultural researcher two years ago.
Judge Noresh Chandra Sarker acquitted a sixth defendant belonging to the militant group, Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh, in the northern Bangladeshi district of Rangpur.
Four of the defendants are in custody and a fifth man was tried in absentia.
Three masked men riding on a motorbike shot and killed Kunio Hoshi while he was riding in a rickshaw to his grass farm in Rangpur, a northern Bangladesh city, in October 2015. The area is 300 kilometers (185 miles) north of Dhaka, the capital.
The Islamic State group issued a statement claiming responsibility for the attack, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadi postings online. The report could not be independently confirmed.
Bangladesh has experienced a renewed level of Islamic militancy in recent years. Dozens of atheists, liberal writers, bloggers and publishers and members of minority communities and foreigners have been targeted and killed.