Dhaka: Ten members of the Harkat-ul Jihad al-Islami (Huji), a banned Islamist militant group in Bangladesh, were Monday sentenced to death for a bomb attack on a Communist Party rally in 2001 that killed eight people here.
Dhaka Metropolitan Sessions Court’s Judge Mohammed Rabiul Islam delivered the verdict. The court acquitted two others in the case and fined each of the death row convicts Bangladeshi Taka 20,000 (USD 281), the Dhaka Tribune reported.
The bomb attack January 20, 2001 in Dhaka’s Paltan Maidan had left eight people dead, and injured over 50.
The main accused, banned Islamist outfit Harkat-al-Jihad al-Islami (Huji) chief Mufti Abdul Hannan, was hanged in a case filed over a grenade attack on ex-British envoy Anwar Choudhury in Sylhet April 12, 2017.
Among the 13 convicts, four were present at the court Monday. Six other convicts sentenced to death are still on the run. Two others have been acquitted in the case. All of them belong to the banned Islamist militant group.
After a hearing in the case December 1, Judge Robiul Islam had set January 20 as the date for delivering the judgment in the case. The court September 4, 2014 framed charges against the 13 members.
The Chief Metropolitan Magistrate January 27, 2005 asked the authorities to re-investigate the matter following a petition for fresh probe into the cases.
Investigating Officer CID Inspector Mrinal Kanti Saha submitted the charge-sheet November 27, 2013 accusing 13 of being involved in the attack, bdnews24.com reported.
The court in its verdict said that the convicts committed the murders to disrupt the democracy in the country and wipe out the pro-liberation forces. The court also said that no one had the right to commit such heinous acts in the name of religion, The Daily Star reported.
A witness of the 2001 attack said he was satisfied with the verdict. Defense lawyer Faruk Ahmed, following the verdict, said that the defendants will appeal in the higher court.
Bangladesh, a Muslim-majority nation of 160 million people, has seen a spate of gruesome attacks in recent years on secular activists, religious minorities, bloggers and foreigners, many of whom have been hacked to death with machetes.
The country launched a massive crackdown on militants after the July 1 Dhaka terror attack in which 22 people, mostly foreigners, were killed.