Bangladesh militant hanged for attack aimed at British envoy

Authorities in Bangladesh have executed a top leader of a banned militant group and two accomplices for their involvement in a grenade attack against a British diplomat at a popular Islamic shrine in 2004.

Mizanur Rahman also informed that none of the family members of Mufti Hannan's associate Sharif Shahedul Bipul came to meet him at the jail.

President Abdul Hamid has refused to show mercy to Hannan, leaving the militant leader with no choice but to walk the gallows.

Gazipur superintendent of police Harun Ur Rashid said the autopsies of Hannan and Bipul has been completed and their bodies will be sent to their village homes amid tight security.

HujiB members attempted to assassinate Anwar Choudhury, the then United Kingdom high commissioner in Dhaka, at the shrine of Hazrat Shahjalal in Sylhet on May 21, 2004.

All had been found guilty of the 2004 attack at a 14th-Century Sufi shrine in Sylhet, in which three people died.

The group has targeted left-leaning cultural groups and rallies of the now-ruling Bangladesh Awami League led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Mufti Abdul Hannan, the head of Harkatul Jihad Al Islami (HuJI) and two associates were sentenced to death in 2008 over the carnage, with Bangladesh's highest court upholding the sentences last month.

Hannan, 60, and another convict, Sharif Shahedul, were executed in the Kashimpur jail, on the outskirts of the capital, while the other militant, Delwar Hossain, was hanged in Sylhet central jail.

Last month, suspected militants attempted to free him by hurling bombs on a police van carrying him.

Hannan had fought in Afghanistan against the Soviets before joining HuJI, which has been accused of being behind several attacks. Hannan and seven other kingpins and operatives of Huji were earlier sentenced to death by another court in Dhaka for a deadly 2001 bomb attack that killed 10 people during Bengali New Year celebrations at a public park.

Security has been strengthened across the country before the traditional Bengali New Year celebrations on April 15. At least 22 people were killed and more than 100 were injured.

Since July, about 55 suspected members of Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh have been killed in raids across the country.

  • Leroy Wright