Ten get death penalty for plotting to murder Sheikh Hasina

The accused had hatched the plot to kill Hasina in 2000 by planting a high-powered explosive device at an open ground at her village home in southwestern Gopalganj where she was scheduled to address a public rally. Security officials, however, detected the bomb ahead of the rally.

Dhaka : A tribunal in Dhaka on Sunday awarded death penalty to 10 people for planting a bomb in 2000 to assassinate then Bangladesh opposition leader and now Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Dhaka’s Special Trial Tribunal Judge Momtaz Begum gave the order in the presence of several accused from the banned Harkat-ul-Jehad-al-Islami (HUJI), which has been accused of planting a 76-kg bomb, Xinhua news agency reported.

The judge also sentenced one person to life imprisonment and nine others to 20 years in jail. Subject to confirmation of the apex court, the judge said the death row convicts would be executed by firing squad.

The accused had hatched the plot to kill Hasina in 2000 by planting a high-powered explosive device at an open ground at her village home in southwestern Gopalganj where she was scheduled to address a public rally. Security officials, however, detected the bomb ahead of the rally.

Of the 25 accused, HUJI chief Mufti Hannan was executed for the 2004 grenade attack on then British High Commissioner to Bangladesh. Defence lawyer Faruk Ahammad told reporters that eight accused were currently behind the bars, one had got bail while 15 others were fugitives.

Hannan was a key suspect in the plotting to assassinate Hasina and blow up courts, secular institutions as well as shrines and churches. He came in the limelight after the militant group announced at a public rally of Islamists in 1999 to establish a Taliban like government in Bangladesh by 2000.

Hannan, arrested in August 2005 and hanged in April this year, was also the mastermind of the nationwide bombings on August 17, 2005.

Hannan had participated in the war in Afghanistan against the former Soviet Union.  “They (convicts) will be executed either by hanging or by shooting with permission of the High Court,” Dhaka’s Speedy Trial Tribunal-2 judge Mamtaz Begum said.

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