Monday, 10 December, 2018

Bangladesh to hang 19 for deadly attack on 2004 rally

Bangladesh ex-PM Khaleda Zia’s son sentenced to life in 2004 grenade attack case Bangladesh: Former PM Khaleda Zia’s fugitive son gets life sentence in 2004 grenade attack case
Jeannette Daniel | 11 October, 2018, 22:07

Former State Minister for Home, Lutfozzaman Babar, is among the 19 people who have been sentenced to death.

Tarique Rahman, the fugitive son of former Bangladesh Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, was sentenced to life and 19 others were given death sentence by a court on Wednesday over the 2004 grenade attack that killed 24 people and injured 500 others, including Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Hasina narrowly escaped, having been whisked away by party members to a waiting vehicle from a dais in front of the headquarters of her Awami League party near where several grenades exploded.

Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader said Khaleda can not duck responsibilities for the attack as she was in-charge of the home ministry at the time.

"They shall be hanged by their neck", said Justice Shahed Nuruddin of the special tribunal, who also awarded life imprisonment to Tarique Rahman, exiled son of former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia.

Armed guards stood outside the courtroom in the old part of the capital on Wednesday to quell any protests, but the streets were calm. Eleven other defendants were given six months to two years in prison.

Zia is already languishing inside a Dhaka jail following her conviction in a corruption case, which came in advance of the country's general election scheduled to be held by the end of the year.

Her party boycotted the 2014 election in which Hasina returned to power but is expected to contest the election due in December.

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The BNP says the case was politically motivated and aimed at destroying the image of party leaders.

Zia was convicted of embezzling about $250,000 in donations meant for an orphanage trust established when she first became prime minister in 1991.

Bangladesh's Law Minister Anisul Haque said the government will move a higher court to seek death penalty for Rahman too.

The government has denied the allegations.

Zia was the country's prime minister three times - twice for full five-year terms and once for a brief period.

"We hoped that Tarique Rahman would get the death sentence", he said, adding the court observed that Rahman played a key role in the attack.

The party plans to challenge the court verdict, its lawyer, Sanaullah Mian, said.

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