Bangladesh Court Sentences 19 To Death Over 2004 Attack  

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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