Nine awarded death penalty, dozens life imprisonment for 1994 train attacks in Bangladesh

DHAKA (Xinhua) – A court in Bangladesh Pabna district, some 216km west of capital Dhaka, has handed death penalty to nine people for attacks on a train decades back with a view to assassinating then opposition leader and now incumbent Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Additional Sessions Judge Rostom Ali yesterday handed down the verdict in presence of dozens of accused. Ali also sentenced 25 persons to life term.

Subject to confirmation of the apex court, the judge also jailed 13 people for 10 years of rigorous imprisonment.

On September 23, 1994, Hasina was leading a nationwide campaign by rail when her coach came under attack upon arriving at a station in Pabna district. Her train was attacked with crude bombs and gunshots.

Hasina survived the assault.

Police subsequently filed a case accusing 52 persons and some others. Police pressed charge sheet against the accused on April 4, 1997, but all of them secured bail from court.

Thirty of the 52 accused were present before the court and sought bail on Monday. Rejecting their bail plea, the court sent them to jail. It also issued arrest warrants against the rest of the accused.