Dhaka, Mar 23 (efe-epa).- A court in Bangladesh sentenced to death 14 members of the Islamist group Harkat ul-Jihad al-Islami (HUJI) on Tuesday in a sedition case for trying to assassinate the country’s prime minister, Sheikh Hasina in 2000.
“The convicts were charged for committing sedition and conspiracy to oust a legal government, create anarchy in the society and panic among the people by planting the bombs,” special prosecutor in the case, Abu Abdullah Bhuiyan, told EFE.
Only nine of the 14 of those convicted were present before the fast track court in Dhaka as the whereabouts of the remaining five are unknown.
In July 2000, the Bangladeshi Police recovered 76 kilograms of explosives near Hasina’s ancestral home in Kotalipara, in the south of the country, where the leader was scheduled to make an address two days later.
Hasina was then into her first stint as prime minister.
Police filed sedition charges in November 2001 against 17 people accused of being HUJI members, although two were let off on the orders of the authorities.
A third extremist, the leader of the Islamist Mufti Abdul Hannan organizations, was executed in 2017 for a grenade attack in 2004 on the then-British ambassador to Dhaka, Anuar Choudhury.
Several of those sentenced to death Tuesday had already been given capital punishment in another trial in 2017 related to the same incident, but on charges of attempting to kill the prime minister.
There have been several convictions for cases related to attacks on Hasina.
In October 2018, a Bangladeshi court sentenced 19 people to death and 19 others to life imprisonment, including the son of imprisoned opposition leader and former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, for his role in a 2004 grenade attack on a rally of Hasina.
Another court in February sentenced 50 opposition leaders and political activists up to 10 years in prison for a 2002 attack on the convoy in which the then-opposition leader and now prime minister was traveling. EFE-EPA