Asia

Bangladesh militants get death sentence for killing Japanese

Bangladeshi policemen escort defendants, center, belonging to the militant group, Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh, as they are brought to a court in Rangpur, Bangladesh, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017. Five members of the banned militant group were sentenced to death by the Bangladesh court Tuesday for their involvement in the slaying of a Japanese agricultural researcher two years ago. (AP Photo)

Bangladeshi policemen escort defendants, center, belonging to the militant group, Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh, as they are brought to a court in Rangpur, Bangladesh, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017. Five members of the banned militant group were sentenced to death by the Bangladesh court Tuesday for their involvement in the slaying of a Japanese agricultural researcher two years ago. (AP Photo)  (The Associated Press)

A Bangladesh court has sentenced five members of a banned militant group to death for their involvement in the slaying of a Japanese agricultural researcher two years ago.

Judge Noresh Chandra Sarker on Tuesday acquitted a sixth defendant belonging to the militant group, Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh.

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 Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack, but Bangladesh authorities blamed it on the domestic group.

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.