Dhaka: Five people have been sentenced to death and three others handed down life term by a Bangladesh court for murdering a Hindu leader 13 years ago.
District and sessions Judge of Bagerhat S M Solaiman handed down the sentences in absentia yesterday as seven of the convicts were still on the run, court officials said today.
Nine people were acquitted in the case.
Prosecution lawyers and police said a manhunt has been launched to arrest the absconding convicts.
Kalidas Baral, who was a lawyer by profession, was shot dead on August 20, 2000. He was the President of the District Puja Udjapon Parishad, central leader of Hindu, Buddhist-Christian Oikya Parishad and local leader of ruling Awami League.
"He was a victim of political rivalry...The rivals within the party had decided to kill him as they could not face him politically," a relative earlier said.
But his relatives said they were unhappy with the verdict. Baral`s wife said she would appeal in a higher court against the judgment as more culprits remained beyond the justice.