Bangladesh sentences 19 to death for political rally attack

Elias Hubbard
October 11, 2018

The attack in Dhaka on a rally by Sheikh Hasina, at the time in the opposition and now prime minister, left her injured and killed 20 people. Rahman was among 49 people tried over the 2004 grenade attack.

Tarique Rahman, the oldest son of opposition leader Khaleda Zia, received a life sentence for each of two conspiracy charges stemming from the attack. "We thank God for the verdict", prosecutor Mosharraf Hossain told reporters after announcing that Tarique Rahman, was sentenced to life behind bars.

Security was stepped up in the country ahead of the verdict.

However, the government is dissatisfied with the sentence and will appeal to the Supreme Court, seeking the death penalty for Rahman, Kazal added.

Hasina was addressing the rally when the grenades exploded and suffered severe injuries in one ear. Hasina was injured in the attack while party's women front chief and former president Zillur Rahman's wife Ivy Rahman were among the dead.

Four years later, Hasina stormed back to power after leading a secular coalition to a landslide victory in elections in December 2008.

The court also handed down death penalty to 19 people, including former State Minister of Home Affairs Lutfuzzaman Babar and former Deputy Minister of Education Abdus Salam Pintu.

Citing the alleged involvement of Mufti Abdul Hannan, the prosecution also alleged the goal of the attack was to establish "fanatic Islam" in the south Asian country. All executions are by hanging, a legacy of the British colonial era.

Hannan, a senior HuJI leader accused of multiple attacks in Bangladesh, was executed previous year.

"There was no evidence or witness against him".

The case documents said the attack was a "meticulously designed plot" to assassinate Hasina hatched by the BNP.

Security was tightened in the capital as the accused were brought to the court.

Zia was transferred to hospital last weekend from the 19th-century Dhaka Central Jail, where she is the only prisoner.

Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, secretary general of Zia's party, termed the verdict politically motivated and said it was a "naked manifestation of political vengeance" by the ruling party.

The 73-year-old was already suffering from health issues including arthritis, diabetes and knee replacements when she was sentenced in February.

Zia faces more than 30 other charges, ranging from corruption to sedition, which her party has denounced as a government effort to keep her out of the elections.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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