BANGLADESH: 14 sentenced to death / 21 years ago PM Hasina was attacked

Fourteen Islamist militants were sentenced to death on Tuesday in a case of an attack on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina 21 years ago. All the convicts are members of the banned Harkat-ul-Jihad Bangladesh (Huji-B). It may be recalled that on July 21, 2000, Huji-B terrorists planted a 76 kg bomb near a field at Kotlipada in southwestern Gopalganj. Sheikh Hasina was addressing an election rally here. But fortunately the security agencies got the information before a Prime Minister’s helicopter landed. The verdict was handed down on Tuesday by Judge Abu Zafar Mohammad Kamrujmaj of the Dhaka Speedy Trial Tribunal. Nine of the 14 convicts were present in court during the verdict. The other five convicts are absconding and were tried in absentia and were legally defended by government-appointed lawyers. In 2000, a plot was hatched to assassinate Hasina in an open field in her ancestral village of Gopalganj in southwestern Bangladesh, using an improvised explosive device. PM Sheikh Hasina was to address a public meeting there. However, security officials found the bomb just before the rally and stopped it before a major accident could occur at the PM’s rally.

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