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Bangladesh court confirms death sentences over British envoy grenade attack

The Supreme Court in Bangladesh has upheld death sentences against an Islamic group's leader and two of his accomplices found guilty over a grenade attack on a British envoy in 2004.

Defence lawyers representing Mufti Abdul Hannan, the leader of the banned group Harkatul Jihad, said they would appeal for a Supreme Court review of Wednesday's ruling, though such reviews are rare.

Hannan and two other men were found guilty in 2008 of orchestrating a grenade attack against Bangladesh-born British High Commissioner Anwar Choudhury while he was visiting a popular Islamic shrine in the north-eastern city of Sylhet in 2004. Mr Choudhury was unharmed, but the attack killed three police officers and injured 70 other people.

The trial court in 2008 sentenced another two of Hannan's associates to life in prison for their role in the attack.

Hannan took over leadership of Harkatul Jihad in the late 1990s. The group, formed in 1992 by Bangladeshis returning from fighting Soviet forces in Afghanistan, has been blamed for many other attacks in the Muslim-majority nation.

Hannan was also sentenced to death for another attack during a new year celebration in 2001 in which 10 people were killed. He remains on trial for a 2004 grenade attack that killed 24 people which targeted Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina when she was the opposition leader and addressing a rally. Ms Hasina escaped injury.

The group was banned by the Bangladesh government in 2005.

AP

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