Ahmed Rajib Haider, 35, was hacked to death near his home in Dhaka in 2013, days after he helped in launching a campaign against Islamist leaders accused of committing crimes against humanity by siding with Pakistani troops during the country's 1971 liberation war.
On January 28 last year, police pressed charges against seven students from North South University and extremist group Ansarullah Bangla Team chief Mufti Jashim Uddin Rahmani.
Of them, Rezwanul Azad Rana, who was mentioned in the charge sheet as the "planner" of the murder, is on the run.
The indictment on Wednesday came as militants killed Bangladeshi-born American blogger Avijit Roy sparking an international outrage prompting Bangladesh authorities to allow Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to join hands with Bangladeshi police.
Roy, 42, known for his critique of religious extremism, was hacked to death on February 26 here by machete-wielding assailants who attacked the Bangladeshi-origin writer for his anti-religious writings.
In both the cases the suspected assailants spread an online campaign dubbing the victims as "atheists".
Rahmani and the six NSU students, now in jail, pleaded not guilty and demanded justice after Judge Ruhul Amin read out the charges to them.
The Dhaka's Fourth Additional Metropolitan Sessions Judge Court has fixed April 21 for recording the deposition of the witnesses. The eight accused face death penalty if convicted of killing Haider.
The judge framed the charges after rejecting separate petitions submitted by the accused seeking their discharge from the case.
The students had vowed to kill "atheist bloggers" after reading Jasimuddin's books and listening to his sermons, the investigation officer said on the charge sheet.

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