Bangladesh court awards death sentence to JI chief among 14 in arms smuggling case

Eurasia News

DHAKA: The 70-year-old Motiur Rahman Nizami, the leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), along with 13 others persons was sentenced to death in Bangladesh on Thursday on charges of smuggling weapons to a rebel group in northeastern India.

“The judge sentenced 14 people including …. Motiur Rahman Nizami, to death on smuggling charges,” prosecutor Kamal Uddin Ahmed told a foreign news agency from the southern port city of Chittagong.

“We’re satisfied with the verdict. This is an unprecedented case and all those accused have got due justice,” Ahmed said.

In April 2004, the Bangladeshi security officials had seized weapons that included 4,930 sophisticated firearms, 27,020 grenades and 840 rocket launchers at a port when they were being unloaded from fishing boats. The weapons and ammunition were destined for a former Indian insurgency group called the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA), according to case documents.

Nizami, the former industries minister in the 2001-2006 Cabinet of then-Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, helped unload the weapons, the prosecutor said.

The former home minister Lutfozzaman Babar and the former chiefs of the country’s two main intelligence agencies were also among the 14 who were sentenced to death. Paresh Baruah, a military wing chief of the ULFA, was also sentenced to death in absentia in the sensational 10-truck arms haul case.