DHAKA A Dhaka court has handed down death penalty to 19 people, including two former ministers, and sentenced a top opposition leader to life imprisonment over a 2004 attack on the current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
“They shall be hanged by their neck,” said Justice Shahed Nuruddin of the special tribunal, who also awarded life imprisonment to Tarique Rahman, exiled son of former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia.
Zia is already languishing inside a Dhaka jail following her conviction in a corruption case, which came in advance of the country’s general election scheduled to be held by the end of the year.
Rahman, who is the acting chairman of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), was jailed for 10 years in absentia in the same corruption case as her mother. He has been living in exile in London since 2008.
Bangladesh’s Law Minister Anisul Haque said the government will move a higher court to seek death penalty for Rahman too.
“We will also take diplomatic steps to bring Tarique back from London,” he said.
The security in and around the special tribunal in the capital, Dhaka, was beefed up anticipating protests from BNP leaders and activists.
Senior BNP leaders, including former State Minister of Home Affairs Lutfuzzaman Babar and former Deputy Minister of Education Abdus Salam Pintu, were given capital punishment for hatching the plot to assassinate Hasina.
The BNP said the conviction was “politically motivated” and the party does not “accept it”.
Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, the party’s secretary general, said the verdict against its leaders is “just another example of using judiciary for political revenge”
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