Bangladesh’s JI calls strike to protest against its leader’s death sentence

Eurasia News

DHAKA: The Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) in Bangladesh gave a country-wide strike call for Monday to protest against the death sentence awarded to its leader Motiur Rahman Nizami on charges of smuggling weapons to a rebel group in northeastern India.

The announcement was made by the party’s acting secretary general Shafiqur Rahman on Friday night, describing the court verdict as “a conspiracy to kill his party chief” by levelling “fabricated” charges against Nizami.

The 70-year-old Nizami along with 13 others persons was sentenced to death on Thursday by a Bangladesh court on arms smuggling charges.

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 Kamal Uddin Ahmed said.