Bangladesh court hands down 10-year imprisonment to 17 militants

Seventeen operatives of the banned Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) were today sentenced to 10-year rigorous imprisonment by a Bangladeshi court for their involvement in simultaneous blasts across the country in 2005.

PTI| Updated: Aug 10, 2015, 20:19 PM IST

Dhaka: Seventeen operatives of the banned Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) were today sentenced to 10-year rigorous imprisonment by a Bangladeshi court for their involvement in simultaneous blasts across the country in 2005.

Witnesses and lawyers said 12 of the convicts faced the trial in-person, while the rest were fugitives and tried in absentia for the blasts on August 17 that killed two persons.

Dhaka's Speedy Trial Tribunal judge Abdur Rahman Sardar found the JMB operatives guilty of triggering explosions at the office of Deputy Commissioner or administrative chief of suburban Gazipur district.

The court also fined them Tk 10,000 each and the inability to pay the fine will lead them to one more year in prison.

JMB operatives triggered 500 devices at 300 locations in 63 of the 64 administrative districts within half an hour.

Police submitted an initial chargesheet in 2005 and a supplementary chargesheet the next year, while the trial began in 2012.

The verdict came six months after a court in southwestern Jhalakathi handed down death penalty to five JMB operatives for killing a public prosecutor in 2007.

JMB came to prominence after two of its operatives were killed on October 2, 2014, apparently in an accidental blast at a hideout in Kolkata's Burdwan area, near the border with Bangladesh.

The blast had triggered a security alert on both sides of the border with high-level visits by senior officials from each side. Several JMB activists were arrested in India and in Bangladesh following the blast.

Six JMB operatives, including its chief Shaikh Abdur Rahman and second-in-command Siddiqul Islam Bangla Bhai, were executed in 2007 after trial.