Bangladesh sentences eight Islamists to death over 2001 attacks

DHAKA Mon Jun 23, 2014 2:43am EDT

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DHAKA (Reuters) - A Bangladeshi court sentenced to death eight members of an outlawed Islamist militant group in connection with a series of bomb attacks 13 years ago that killed 10 people, lawyers said on Monday.

The Islamists, including the head of the militant group Harkat-ul Jihad Islami (HUJI), were found guilty over the attacks during the traditional celebrations of Bengali New Year in the capital on April 14, 2001.

Six others were sentenced to life in jail.

The militant group is blamed for several other attacks, including an August 2004 attack on a rally by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who was then the leader of the opposition. Twenty-three people were killed and over 150 wounded in the assault. Hasina suffered partial hearing loss.

HUJI head Mufti Abdul Hannan was sentenced to death for a failed attempt to assassinate former British High Commissioner Anwar Choudhury at a Muslim shrine in May 2005. Choudhury was wounded, but three people, including his bodyguard, were killed.

(Reporting by Ruma Paul; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)

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