Ex-Bangladesh PM Khaleda Zia's Son Gets Life For 2004 Grenade Attack

Blanche Robertson
October 11, 2018

A court in Bangladesh has sentenced 19 people to death for their role in a deadly grenade attack on a 2004 political rally in the capital Dhaka.

A court in Bangladesh sentenced a former minister to death on Wednesday in connection with a grenade attack in 2004, BDNews24.com reported.

Rahman, who is the acting chairman of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), was jailed for 10 years in absentia in the same corruption case as her mother.

Hasina narrowly survived the attack after some of her party leaders formed a human shield around her, but up to 20 people were killed, including top AL leader Ivy Rahman. Rahman and other BNP members were among the 19 sentenced to life terms.

The verdict comes ahead of the election in December.

Police spokesman Sohel Rana said security was tightened in courts and across the South Asian nation to avert any violence following the verdict.

Zia faces more than 30 other charges, ranging from corruption to sedition, which her party has denounced as a government effort to keep her out of the elections. He now lives in London where he is believed to have sought asylum though the British authorities have declined to reveal his immigration status.

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Tarique Rahman, son of then-premier and Hasina's ally-turned-archrival Khaleda Zia, was among 49 people on trial, with Rahman charged with criminal conspiracy and multiple counts of murder.

Judge Shahed Nuruddin of Dhaka's fast track Tribunal pronounced the judgment ordering Rahman to be sent to prison for life along with 18 others.

Nineteen people, including former State Minister for Home Lutfozzaman Babar, were sentenced to death.

The former prime minister has been serving a five-year imprisonment in a graft case and was not made an accused in the case.

The BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami coalition government, which was in power at the time of the attack, was accused of scuttling the investigation to protect the masterminds. Hasina was the main target of the attack, investigators said. Among the dead was the wife of a former president.

"We will also take diplomatic steps to bring Tarique back from London", he said. The High Court must confirm their death penalty after a mandatory review.

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