Fri, Apr 14, 2017 - Page 5 News List

Bangladesh hangs three extremists for attack on diplomat

AP, NEW DELHI

Authorities in Bangladesh have executed a top leader of a banned militant group and two accomplices for their involvement in a grenade attack against a British diplomat in 2004.

The attack killed three people and wounded several others. The main target was then-British high commissioner to Bangladesh Anwar Choudhury, who narrowly escaped.

Bangladeshi Minister of Home Affairs Asaduzzaman Khan yesterday said that Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami leader Mufti Abdul Hannan and one accomplice were hanged at Kashimpur Jail outside the capital, Dhaka, late on Wednesday. The third man was executed in the northeastern district of Sylhet, also late on Wednesday.

The Bangladeshi Supreme Court had upheld their death sentences given by a trial court in 2008 and the president rejected their clemency appeals.

Harkat-ul-Jihad wanted to introduce Shariah law in Bangladesh, a Muslim-majority nation of 160 million people that is governed by secular laws based on British common law.

The group has targeted left-leaning cultural groups and rallies of the now-ruling Bangladesh Awami League led by Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. It is blamed for other attacks between 1999 and 2005 that claimed more than 100 lives.

Hannan was one of the most dreaded Muslim extremists in Bangladesh. He joined the war in Afghanistan against the Soviets and was injured there in 1990.

He became the top leader of Harkat-ul-Jihad in Bangladesh after his return. The group was founded in Pakistan, where Hannan studied previously.

The latest executions would help Bangladesh gain confidence in its fight against radial Muslims who have expanded their grip in recent years by targeting and killing atheist bloggers, writers, foreigners and minority groups.

Bangladesh has in recent decades banned several radical Muslim groups, but several domestic militant groups have been active in recent years amid a crackdown by Hasina’s government.

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