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Bangladeshi militants beat up journalists

The militants started chanting religious slogans after the verdict was announced and attacked two journalists.

world Updated: Feb 01, 2008 15:01 IST

Seven militants of the outlawed Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), sentenced to life imprisonment for carrying out bomb blasts, beat up journalists outside a court in Rajshahi in the country's west.

The militants started chanting religious slogans after the verdict was announced on Thursday and attacked two journalists as they were being taken to jail.

Abul Kashem Tufan, a bomb expert and trainer, took the lead in hitting Zahid Hasan of Banglavision television channel as the latter was taking video footage of the militants. Zahid's camera was damaged.

Minutes later, Tufan, although tied with a rope, knocked journalist Abdullah Iqbal to the ground, also damaging his camera.

Tufan said: "We did not do anything wrong. It's you (journalists) who are the real culprits. You thwarted all our plans, everything."

The militants tried to break out of the police cordon five times and threw their sandals at the newsmen, the Daily Star reported on Friday.

Court inspector Mahbubul Kuddus Siddiqui told reporters that the militants got hold of the two newsmen because they got too close to them.

Judge ATM Mesbauddoula at the Speedy Trial Court fined the militants 10,000 Takas ($145) each. If they fail to pay, they will have to undergo one year's additional jail term.

The seven were convicted for carrying out bomb blasts in Chapainawabganj on August 17, 2005 when Bangladesh witnessed an estimated 500 explosions across the country.

The seven who have been sentenced are Tufan, Shahidullah Faruk Selim, Shakhawat Hossain Ziad, Abdullah Al Mamun Nasim, Hafez Ali Akbar Riaz, Shafiullah Shahid and Hafijur Rahman Dalim. The last two are in hiding.