Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Court Indicts Radical Islamic Leader

At last, Bangladesh is moving to indict radical islamists involved in bomb attack on the British High Commissioner in Bangladesh. When indicting these culprits is a positive development in Bangladesh, it needs to go beyond that to prohibit faith based political entities that promote fundamentalism and intolerance. Read this news from Internal Herald Tribute published on July 31, 2007:

DHAKA, Bangladesh: A court in northeastern Bangladesh on Tuesday indicted the leader of a banned Islamic militant group in connection with a 2004 grenade attack that wounded a British diplomat and killed three other people, a television station reported.

Mufti Hannan, leader of the banned Islamic group Harkatul Jihad Al-Islami, and three of his associates face trial on charges of murder, CSB television station quoted unidentified court officials saying.

The court set Aug. 28 to hear prosecution witnesses at the start of the trial, the report said.

Hannan and three others were present in the court in Sylhet city, 192 kilometers (120 miles) northeast of the capital Dhaka. All four suspects were charged by police in June in connection with the attack. However, under Bangladeshi law a court must either accept or reject the charges and issue an indictment for the case to proceed.

If convicted, the four accused could face the death penalty.

Police said the attack targeted Bangladesh-born British High Commissioner Anwar Chowdhury in Sylhet city in May 2004.

A policeman and two bystanders were killed and 50 others, including Chowdhury, were wounded.

A hand grenade was hurled at Chowdhury as he left a Muslim shrine after Friday prayers.

Hannan, a radical cleric, who is believed to have trained with Islamic fighters in Afghanistan in the 1980s, was arrested in October 2005 following a spate of bombings at cultural events, blamed on the outlawed Harkatul Jihad Al-Islami.

The radical group, identified as a "terrorist organization" by the authorities, wants to establish strict Islamic rule in Bangladesh, a Muslim-majority nation governed by secular laws.

It also seeks to avenge the killings of Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan in the U.S.-led campaign against international terrorism.

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