Bangladeshi authorities stand guard during the verdict day of Holey Artisan Attack case in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Seven men were sentenced to death Wednesday after they were convicted of involvement in the 2016 attack. Photo by Monirul Alam/EPA-EFE
Nov. 27 (UPI) -- Seven Islamist militants were sentenced to death Wednesday after being found guilty of participating in a 2016 Bangladesh terror attack in which 22 people were killed.
The seven men, convicted of helping to plan and carry out the July 1, 2016, suicide attack, heard their sentences read out by an anti-terrorism tribunal judge in a packed Dhaka courtroom amid tight security.
Witnesses said they remained defiant while receiving the sentences, shouting, "Allahu Akbar (God is great)... we did nothing wrong."
The men, all Bangladeshis, were accused of providing arms, grenades and planning for the worst terror attack in the country's history, which targeted the trendy Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka, an eatery popular among foreign tourists and diplomats. Five men who carried out the attack were killed by police after a 20-hour hostage standoff.
The incident claimed mainly foreign victims, including nine Italians, seven Japanese, a U.S. citizen and an Indian. Also dying in the attack were two police officers and two bakery employees. Prosecutors said the hostages were systematically executed one-by-one during the siege.
All seven of the defendants were identified as members of the banned homegrown Bangladeshi Islamist group Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh, or Neo-JMB
Defense attorneys said they planned to appeal the verdict and death sentences, citing what they called "many contradictions, inconsistencies and a lack of corroboration" in the case.