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Top Islamic militants get life term in Bangladesh

A tribunal has given life sentences to four people after they were found guilty of masterminding the killing of two district court judges.

india Updated: Feb 21, 2006 12:14 IST

A special tribunal in southern Bangladesh has given life sentences to four people, including two top Islamic militants, after they were found guilty of masterminding the killing of two district court judges in November.

Abdur Rahman, chief of the banned Jamiatul Mujahideen group, and Bangla Bhai, who operates a clandestine Islamic outfit Jagroto Muslim Janata, were both sentenced to life Monday in absentia in an anti-terror court in the southern city of Barisal.

Special tribunal judge MA Matin also gave life term in prison to Mollah Omar, head of a local madrassa, an Islamic religious school, and Mohammad Amjad, a Mujahideen activist who had allegedly struck down judges Sohail Ahmad and Jagannath Pandey with a homemade bomb as they were boarding a minibus to their office.

The powerful explosion reduced the bus to rubble as it rocked buildings in Jhalokathi, a farm town near Barisal city, 280 km south of the capital Dhaka.

"The cold blooded murder of the judges is an abominable act as it strikes against the most basic human rights and the perpetrators of such deeds deserve the stiffest punishment under the law," Matin said while delivering the judgement in a court room amid tightened security.

Observers said the judicial institutions in the country had become targets of the militants as these were considered symbols of a decadent western civilisation, which should be replaced by Koran based laws.

Rahman and Bangla Bhai are the two most prominent Islamic militants in Bangladesh to be punished by a court. Both went into hiding following a series of bomb attacks across the country last August 17, which were blamed on religious extremists.

More than 800 suspected Islamic militants were held in a crackdown by security forces in Bangladesh in recent months.

First Published: Feb 21, 2006 12:14 IST