Bangladesh president rejects militants' mercy pleas
Mar 6, 2007 - 10:43:38 PM

Dhaka, March 6 - Bangladesh President Iajuddin Ahmad Tuesday rejected mercy pleas from six Islamic militants sentenced to death after they were found guilty of masterminding a bomb attack that killed two judges two years ago.

Home affairs ministry sources said those refused presidential clemency included Shaek Abdur Rahman and his close associate Siddiqul Islam, popularly known as Bangla Bhai.

The two clerics founded the banned Jamiatul Mujahideen, a fundamentalist organisation that vowed to Islamise Bangladesh, a country dominated by Muslims.

The Mujahideen leaders were given the death sentence by a district court in southern Barisal city in November 2005. The high court - after reviewing the trial proceedings - kept in place the lower court verdict.

Judges Sohel Ahmad and Jagannath Pandey were killed in the blast that was triggered by a suicide bomber.

The Islamic group gained notoriety when its armed cadres carried out an orchestrated bomb attack in 60 locations across the country.

Ataur Rahman Sunny, younger brother of Shaek Rahman and military commander in the outfit, will also be hanged.

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