Bangladesh upholds death sentences of two blogger killers

This file photograph taken on June 23, 2014, shows Bangladeshi Harkat-ul Jihad al Islami (HUJI) leader Mufti Abdul Hannan (C) flanked by police officers after a court appearance in Dhaka. Bangladesh's highest court on March 19, 2017, has rejected the final appeal by a top extremist leader to overturn his death sentence, paving the way for his execution within weeks. (AFP)
Updated 02 April 2017
0

Bangladesh upholds death sentences of two blogger killers

DHAKA: The High Court of Bangladesh on Sunday upheld the death sentences of two members of a banned Islamist group accused of killing a blogger, a court official said.
The two were sentenced to death in 2015 for killing Ahmed Rajib Haider, a youth group activist campaigning for a trial of war criminals, including those involved in Bangladesh’s independence war with Pakistan in 1971.
Rajib was hacked to death in Dhaka in 2013.
The two convicts, Redwanul Azad Rana and Faisal Bin Nayem, are members of the Islamist group Ansar al Islam, linked to Al-Qaeda. In 2015, Dhaka police announced a reward of 500,000 taka ($6,410) for Rana, believed to be the most senior leader of the group. He has gone into hiding.
Rana is also accused of hacking to death another blogger, Bangladesh-born US citizen Avijit Roy, in the same year.
Bangladesh has been battling a rise in Islamist-linked violence in the past four years. Since July, several militants have been arrested or killed in police operations for involvement in last year’s attack on a Dhaka cafe in which 22 people, mostly foreigners, were killed.
Since 2013 Islamist militants killed or seriously injured 48 people in Bangladesh, including at least six online critics of religious militancy who were hacked to death.
Daesh and Al-Qaeda have made competing claims over the killings of foreigners, liberals and members of religious minorities in Bangladesh, a mostly Muslim country of 160 million people.
The government has consistently ruled out the presence of foreign groups, blaming domestic militants instead. (Reporting by Serajul Quadir)


Comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy wins Ukraine elections after incumbent president Petro Poroshenko concedes defeat

Updated 21 April 2019
0

Comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy wins Ukraine elections after incumbent president Petro Poroshenko concedes defeat

  • Petro Poroshenko tried to rally Ukrainians around the flag and national identity
  • Zelenskiy is a comedian with no political experience and few detailed policies

KIEV: Incumbent Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Sunday conceded he had been soundly defeated in a run-off vote by comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy and would be leaving office next month, but said he did not plan to quit politics altogether.

Ukraine entered uncharted political waters on Sunday after an exit poll showed Zelenskiy, a comedian with no political experience and few detailed policies, had easily won enough votes to become the next president of a country at war.

The apparent landslide victory of Volodymyr Zelenskiy, 41, is a bitter blow for incumbent Petro Poroshenko who tried to rally Ukrainians around the flag by casting himself as a bulwark against Russian aggression and a champion of Ukrainian identity.

Poroshenko said the results were "clear" and a reason to "call my opponent and congratulate him", after exit polls showed the performer taking 73 percent of the vote.

"I will leave office but I want to firmly stress -- I will not quit politics," he added.

Zelensky vowed to "reboot" peace talks with separatists that also involve Russia and the West.

"In any case we will act within the Normandy framework, we will continue with the Minsk talks, we will reboot them," Zelensky told a news conference.

"I think we will have personnel changes there," he added.