Bangladesh upholds militants' death sentence for UK envoy attack

Group says it was plotting to avenge the deaths of Muslims in Iraq and across the world by America and Britain

Afp February 11, 2016
Police escort Mufti Abdul Hannan (3rd L), alleged leader of the Bangladesh chapter of the militant group Harkatul Jihad, to court in Dhaka October 2,2005. REUTERS

DHAKA: A Bangladesh court Thursday upheld the death sentence of a top militant and two of his followers for a 2004 failed assassination attack on the British ambassador that left three people dead.

The High Court dismissed appeals by Mufti Abdul Hannan, head of Harkatul Jihad Al Islami, and two members of the banned militant group who have all been convicted over a spate of deadly attacks.

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"The High Court has upheld the verdict. Unless they make another appeal in the country's highest court, there is now no bar to their execution," deputy attorney general Sheikh Moniruzzaman Kabir told AFP.

"Mufti Abdul Hannan ... was behind a number of deadly grenade attacks including on a rally of current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in August 2004 in which more than 20 people were killed," he said.

There was no comment from the defence lawyers, who did not turn up for the verdict.

The trio were convicted of murder and masterminding the grenade attack in May 2004 on then British high commissioner Anwar Choudhury, who was only slightly injured.

The attack came just weeks after the Bangladeshi-born diplomat took up the post and occurred as he was visiting a historic Sufi shrine in the northeastern city of Sylhet.

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The High Court also on Thursday upheld life sentences for two other militants for their roles in the blast that left three worshippers dead and scores injured.

The British High Commission had welcomed the conviction of those involved but opposed the use of the death penalty.

Police said at the time of the attack that the group was plotting "to avenge the deaths of Muslims in Iraq and across the world by America and Britain".


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