Bangladesh Court Upholds Death Sentences for Three HuJI Militants

Kamran Reza Chowdhury
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160211-BD-hannan-620 Police officers flank Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami leader Abdul Hannan (center) as he appears in a Dhaka court, June 23, 2014.

A Dhaka court Thursday upheld death sentences for a militant group leader and two of his men who were convicted of trying to assassinate the British ambassador to Bangladesh 12 years ago, officials said.

A two-judge panel of the High Court rejected an appeal of a lower court’s capital punishment sentence for Abdul Hannan, chief of the banned militant outfit Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami (HuJI), and two of his accomplices, Sharfi Shahidul Alam (alias Bipul) and Delwar Hossain (alias Ripon), according to reports.

In 2008, a court in northeastern Sylhet sentenced three to die for their role in a grenade attack there on May 21, 2004 that injured British High Commissioner Anwar Choudhury but killed a police officer and two other people. The attack took place as the Bangladeshi-born diplomat – now Britain’s ambassador to Peru – was visiting the Hazrat Shahjalal shrine.

Two other HuJI members, Mostafizur Rahman (also known as Muhibullah) and Mufit Moin Uddin (also known as Abu Zandal) were sentenced to life in prison for their roles in the plot

“This is a historic day. We should all welcome such verdicts,” Mizanur Rahman, a student of International Relations at Dhaka University, told BenarNews, saying that the attack on the foreign diplomat had given his country a bad name.

Mohammad Ali, a lawyer representing Hannan and the other two condemned men, said his clients would appeal Thursday’s ruling.

The next step in the case would be heard by the nation’s Supreme Court, the Associated Press reported.

Previously, the Supreme Court rejected appeals from five men sentenced to death by Bangladesh’s International War Crimes Tribunal for their roles in atrocities committed during the war of independence from Pakistan in 1971. Last year, three of those five men were executed after the court turned down their appeals.

In 2004, HuJI militants also carried out a grenade attack on an Awami League party rally in Dhaka that killed 20 people, including the wife of former President Zillur Rahman.

The guest of honor at the rally, Sheikh Hasina, the current prime minister who was then the leader of the opposition, narrowly survived the attack.


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