A Bangladeshi court on Tuesday gave death sentence to 21 Islamist militants of an extremist group for Aug. 17 countrywide bombing, private television channel NTV reported.
The television said the Sessions Judge of southwestern Jhenaidah district, 196 km from Dhaka, handed down the punishment to Islamist militants of the banned hardliner group Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), widely blamed for the Aug. 17 almost simultaneous bombing, in which they exploded nearly 500 bombs killing three persons and injuring 150 others in different parts of the country.
The television said Judge Anisur Rahman handed down the verdict after examining 45 witnesses, including police. Three of the convicted persons were absconding and others faced the trial.
The JMB also claimed the responsibility for the bombing through leaflets found in the bombing sites. The leaflets said the group headed by Shaikh Abdur Rahman, wants to establish Islamic rule in Bangladesh which has a population of 140 million.
JMB chief Shaikh Abdur Rahman went into hiding after the Aug. 17 bombing and he is still on the run.
The JMB also exploded series of bombs after Aug. 17 blasts and made suicide attacks on courts as the group considers courts were the stumbling block in establishing the Islamic rule.
Shaikh Rahman of JMB and Bangla Bhai of Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh and two other top ranking leaders of JMB and a suicide bomber were given life imprisonment for killing two judges in a suicide bomb attack in Jhalkathi in Nov. 14 last year. They were given the punishment this month by a court in southern Barisal, 275 km from Dhaka.