Bangladesh sentences 10 to death for plot to kill PM Hasina

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. (AFP)
Updated 20 August 2017
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Bangladesh sentences 10 to death for plot to kill PM Hasina

DHAKA: A Bangladesh court sentenced ten Islamist militants to death Sunday over a failed plot to assassinate Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina by detonating a huge bomb at one of her rallies.
The men were sentenced to death by firing squad for planting a huge explosive near where Hasina was scheduled to speak during her first term as prime minister in 2000, prosecutor Shamsul Haq Badol told AFP.
“The bomb was planted in an attempt to kill Sheikh Hasina, high-ranking leaders of the (ruling) Awami League party and dignitaries,” Badol said.
The 76 kilogram (167 pound) explosive was detected and defused, sparking a manhunt for those responsible for the assassination attempt on Hasina, who is in her third term as leader of Bangladesh’s secular government.
Police allege the operation was led by Mufti Abdul Hannan, the late leader of extremist group Harakat ul Jihad Al Islami, which perpetrated a string of attacks across Bangladesh in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Hannan, the main accused in the failed bomb plot, was hanged in April for orchestrating a grenade attack on Britain’s envoy to Bangladesh in 2004.
The accused in this latest case wanted to kill Hasina because “they said she was not a Muslim, and an agent of India, and Islam can be established (in Bangladesh) only by killing her,” Badol said.
He said another large explosive was found three days later at a helipad where Hasina was scheduled to land.
A separate prosecutor, Khandaker Abdul Mannan, said those sentenced to death were also implicated in other assaults, including a deadly bombing at a church and a secular festival.
Defense lawyer Faruque Ahmed said the defendants would lodge an appeal through the jail authorities.
“There are a lot of questions about this case. The defendants said they did not get justice,” he told AFP.
Hannan tried to kill Hasina in a separate grenade attack at a rally in the capital Dhaka in August 2004, in which 22 people were killed, Badol said.
Hasina, who was opposition leader at that time, suffered injuries to her ear in the carnage.
A madrassa teacher who studied in India and Pakistan, Hannan fought against the Soviets in Afghanistan before returning home to Bangladesh where he rose to prominence for a string of deadly attacks under his command.


Power cuts from Iran: Afghan traders lose millions of dollars

Updated 21 July 2018
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Power cuts from Iran: Afghan traders lose millions of dollars

  • Years of low rain and snowfall have led to a drought in Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan where temperatures have risen in recent months
  • People in Herat and Nimroz are facing lots of problems from production

KABUL: Sustained power cuts from Iran have badly affected everyday life in Afghanistan’s western Herat province, where traders have lost millions of dollars as a result, Afghan officials said on Saturday.
An Afghan delegation was set to travel on Saturday to Iran to discuss the power shedding which began more than 10 days ago. Iranian officials cited growing warm weather as the reason, saying the country has also cut exports of electricity to Pakistan and Iraq.
Total power imports from Iran for Herat and Nimroz stand at 100 megawatts.
Herat, the second largest city in Afghanistan with an industrial park consisting of scores of factories, has taken the brunt of the power cuts, according Ahmad Khadem, an official for the chambers of commerce.
The Afghan officials described the load shedding as a violation of the agreement struck with Iran.
“People have been suffering a lot. People in Herat and Nimroz are facing lots of problems from production. Poultry and other businesses have lost millions,” said Wahidullah Tawhidi, a spokesman for Afghanistan’s national power company.
Jailani Farhad, a spokesman for Herat’s governor, told Arab News that local authorities have activated two tribunes of Salma Dam in Herat to cover part of the load shedding.
Afghanistan relies on imports of power from Central Asia and Iran.
Years of low rain and snowfall have led to a drought in Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan where temperatures have risen in recent months, pushing the need for electricity in the summer hot season in the region.