Bangladesh Court Sentences Six Islamist Militants To Death

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Dhaka: A Bangladeshi court on Tuesday sentenced to death six Islamist militants from banned groups Jamatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh (JMB) and Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT) for killing seven people during a bank robbery near the capital last year.

Three other militants from the groups were jailed for various terms, prosecution and defence lawyers said. Two of the defendants were acquitted as their involvement could not be proven.

Dhaka’s District and Session Court Judge SM Kuddus Zaman made the decision while 10 of the defendants were in dock. Another man was tried in absentia. Defence lawyer Faruk Ahmed said they were not happy with the verdict and would appeal in the High Court.

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Public Prosecutor Khandker Abdul Mannan said the defendants were calm when the judge pronounced the verdict involving the killing of seven people during a robbery of a commercial bank in April 2015 in Ashulia industrial belt.

The lawyers said Tuesday’s verdict involved murder and bank robbery while a second case of possessing weapons and explosives remains pending. The suspects had thrown bombs during and after the robbery as their plan was to collect money to fund their activities.

According to police investigation, the suspects involved in the incident were originally members of the JMB but later joined Ansarullah Bangla Team, a newly formed militant group blamed for recent attacks and killings of secular people in the Muslim-majority nation.

The JMB, which wants Shariah law to replace the country’s secular governing system, was behind the simultaneous explosions of around 500 home-made bombs across the country in 2007. Six of the top leaders of the JMB were later hanged.