DHAKA – Fourteen ‘jihadists’ were sentenced to death in Bangladesh for attempting to assassinate Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina more than two decades ago, a prosecutor said.
The 2000 bomb plot was one of several attempts on Hasina’s life in a wave of violence by Islamic extremists who were angry at her secular stance at the time.
Since then, a major crackdown against homegrown Islamist groups has seen more than 100 extremists killed in raids by police and more than 1,000 suspected militants arrested.
A fast-track court handed down death sentences to all 14 accused- five of them absconding- after they were found guilty of sedition and criminal conspiracy, prosecutor Abu Abdullah Bhuilyan told AFP.
They planted two bombs in the grounds of a college where Hasina was due to address a rally. The devices were discovered and defused.
“They are Islamist extremists belonging to the HuJI (Harkat ul Jihad al Islami) and JMB (Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh),” he said, referring to local extremist outfits blamed for a series of deadly bombings and grenade attacks in the 2010s.