A tribunal has sentenced five people to death for the 2015 bomb attack on two mosques at the Bangladesh Navy’s Issa Khan Base.
Judge Abdul Halim of the Chattogram Anti-Terrorism Tribunal delivered the verdict in the case on Wednesday.
The death-row convicts are M Sakhawat Hossain, a former member of the Navy, Abdul Mannan, Ramzan Ali, Babul Rahman aka Rony, and JMB member Abdul Gaffar.
Of the convicts, Sakhawat is at large, while the others were in court to hear the verdict.
All of the convicts were also fined Tk 50,000 each.
"This brutal attack on the people who protect our nation and its sovereignty was a direct attack on our county," said Public Prosecutor Manoranjan Das after the verdict.
Advocate Jalal Uddin, who represented the defence, raised questions about the investigation, saying that the case was filed nearly a year after the incident and no explanation was provided.
He asked where the suspects were kept after their arrest, saying the convicts had never confessed, and that none of the prosecution's witnesses had named them.
The defence is perturbed by the verdict and will appeal the decision, the lawyer said.
On Dec 18, 2015, blasts occurred at two mosques in the Issa Khan Base after Friday prayers.
A total of 24 people, both civilian and military, were injured in the blasts.
Nine months later, on Sept 3, 2016, Navan Provost Marshal Commander M Abu Sayeed filed a case with the Chattogram EPZ Police Station under the anti-terrorism and explosives laws.
Sakhawat, Mannan, Ramzan and Babul were named as suspects.
After further investigations and interrogations, police found evidence that Mannan’s older brother, JMB member Gaffar, was involved in the attack.
According to the case documents, the attack was carried out under orders from the JMB's Chattogram regional leader Raisul Islam Khan Noman aka Nafis aka Fardin.
Fardin was killed in an explosion while trying to make grenades in Bogura on Apr 3, 2016, police said. He was not named as a suspect due to his death.
EPZ police submitted the chargesheet in the case against the five suspects on Oct 15, 2017. On Aug 1, the court finished hearing the arguments of both sides.