A court in Bangladesh on Tuesday sentenced six Islamist militants to hang for a bank robbery in April that killed eight people, lawyers said, but the defence vowed to appeal against the verdict. Militants in the majority-Muslim nation have targeted liberal bloggers, academics and members of religious minorities in a surge of Islamist violence, killing at least 27 people since early last year.
Police blamed the bank robbery on members of Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen, a banned militant group that has laid low since six of its leaders were hanged in 2007.
The gang set off crude bombs as it fl ed a branch of state-run Bangladesh Commerce Bank on the outskirts of Dhaka, the capital, with takings of 700,000 taka ($8,900), after killing the manager to get the key to the vault. Customers and bystanders gave chase and beat one robber to death.
A total of eight men were killed during the incident. The militants received the death sentence in view of the gravity of their crime, public prosecutor Khandaker Abdul Mannan told reporters outside the court after the verdict.
“They committed a heinous crime. They killed innocent people,” he said, adding that one of them was still on the run. The court also sentenced another man to life imprisonment and two others to three years in jail. Two other suspects were acquitted. Defence lawyer Faruq Ahmed said his clients would appeal to a higher court as they had been denied justice. (RTRS)