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Iran Press TV

Bangladesh court jails top militant leader to over 7 years

Iran Press TV

Thu May 25, 2017 4:25PM

A Bangladeshi court has sentenced a top militant leader to over seven years for leading an extremist group blamed for a series of high-profile deadly attacks across the South Asian country.

Prosecutor Jahangir Hossain confirmed that a special court handed down a seven-year sentence against Maolana Saidur Rahman amid heavy security in the capital Dhaka on Thursday.

"He was sentenced to seven years in jail for abusing the Muslim's holy book of Qur'an, and misinterpreting its text to incite them (followers) against the country," media outlets quoted the prosecutor as saying.

Rahman, described by police as the ringleader of Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), was also handed an additional six-month term for a related offence.

Two of Rahman's comrades were given seven years in absentia on the same charges, the prosecutor added.

In Dhaka in 2010, Rahman was detained in possession of bomb-making materials, firearms and militant literature.

Bangladeshi security sources say Rahman took over leadership of JMB after its previous leader, Shaikh Abdur Rahman, was executed in 2007.

Police had accused Rahhman of spearheading a number of deadly attacks against religious minorities, activists and foreigners in recent years. He was also accused of recruiting young men to commit the atrocities.

Last month, Bangladesh executed Mufti Abdul Hannan, the head of the extremist banned Harkat-ul Jihad group.

The group, formed in 1992 by Bangladeshis returning from fighting Soviet forces in Afghanistan, has been blamed for many attacks across the country.

Bangladesh has suffered a wave of attacks in recent years. Militants have targeted atheist bloggers, writers, publishers and members of religious minorities.

In a deadly siege in July 2016, a band of militants killed more than 20 hostages, including 17 foreigners, in a cafe in the capital Dhaka.

Although many of the terrorist attacks conducted by local extremist groups in Bangladesh in the past year have been claimed by the Daesh terrorist group and al-Qaeda, the government of Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina says local radical outfits, particularly the JMB, have also been responsible.

Authorities reject the notion that global terrorist groups maintain a foothold in the Muslim-majority country of over 160 million people.

Since the bloody July attack in Dhaka, Bangladeshi security forces have stepped up a hunt for militants behind the spate of recent attacks across the country. An estimated 70 militants have been killed in a police crackdown since the cafe attack.

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