Over two decades after an assassination attempt at Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina at her south-western constituency in 2000, a Bangladesh court on Tuesday handed down death sentence to 14 terrorists. Judge Abu Zafar Md Kamruzzaman of Dhaka's Speedy Trial tribunal-1 pronounced the verdict, which is to be executed after the arrest of five convicts who are on the run. The remaining nine were presented in the court to face the trial in person.

"The verdict will be executed by a firing squad to set an example, unless the law barred it," said Judge Kamruzzaman on Tuesday, PTI reported.

14 terrorists who tried to kill PM in 2000

The 2000 assassination attempt

PM Hasina narrowly escaped the assassination attempt on her, but the attack killed 23 people and hundreds were injured. The convicts plotted to kill Hasina by planting a 76kg explosive device near a ground at Kotalipara area of southwestern Gopalganj on July 21, 2000, where she was to address the public during an election rally.

The investigation revealed the Harkatul Jihad-e- Islami Bangladesh (HuJI) terrorists were behind the attack and the group's chief Mufti Hannan was found to be the mastermind of the plot. However, Hannan was executed in 2017 in another assassination attempt case of then Bangladeshi-origin British High Commissioner.

Sheikh Hasina
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.Reuters File

Bangladesh has found 25 suspects accused in the Special Powers Act case. All the convicts are operatives of outlawed HuJI Bangladesh.