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Bid to kill Hasina: Fugitive death-row convict arrested after 22 years

A team of Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime unit (CTTC) have arrested a fugitive death-row convict in a case filed for attempt to kill Sheikh Hasina at Kotalipara in Gopalganj in 2000.

Condemned convict Md Azizul Huque Rana alias Shahnewaz, 44, was arrested from in front of a mosque near Khilkhet Bazar in the capital on Tuesday night.

CTTC said Azizul had been absconding for 21 years under various disguises since the incident of attempt to kill Sheikh Hasina on July 20, 2000. He had carried out militant activities secretly. He had been hiding in Dhaka and some other districts using various names. He is an expert bomb maker and maintained close ties with the militant group even while he was on the run.

A jihadi book, two mobile phone sets, a pen drive and a computer hard disk was recovered from his possession, said CTTC chief Asaduzzaman at a press conference at Minto Road in the capital on Wednesday.

In a case filed over the attempt to kill Sheikh Hasina, a tribunal in Dhaka on March 23 last year sentenced Azizul and 13 members of the banned militant group Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HuJi) to death and ordered that they be “publicly” executed by a firing squad.

Of them, five convicts–Shahnewaz, Enamul, Lokman, Yusuf and Mosaheb-were absconding.

CTTC chief Asaduzzaman said the 44-year old Shahnewaz had been absconding for 22 years and opened a rubber stamp making business in guise at Khilkhet area.

He was closely associated with HuJi leader Mufti Hannan

The militants planted bombs on Sheikh Lutfar Rahman Ideal College premises and nearby helipad in Kotalipara where Sheikh Hasina was supposed to address a rally on July 22, 2000.

A sedition case was filed against them for trying to kill Sheikh Hasina, by planting the 76kg bomb which was found on July 21. After two days, another 40kg bomb was recovered from the college premises.

Azizul fled to Dhaka from Gopalganj after recovery of the bombs.