Dhaka: A court in southeastern Bangladesh on Tuesday sentenced to death 39 activists of the ruling Awami League for brutally killing a fellow local level party leader four years ago.
Ekramul Haque, the upazila Awami League president, was hacked, shot and burnt alive by miscreants inside his car in broad daylight in Feni town's Academy area on May 20, 2014.
"The court handed down the death penalty to 39 people in this single case," a prosecutor told PTI over telephone from Feni.
"All the convicts were local leaders and activists of Awami League," he added.
He said the district judge's court, however, acquitted 16 people, one being a local leader of the main opposition BNP, though initially he appeared to be the prime accused in the case.
Haque's brother Rezaul Haque Jasim had filed the murder case accusing BNP leader Minar and 30-35 unidentified people.
A total of 44 arrests were made over the years and 15 of them confessed in court.
Earlier on Monday Bangladesh's ex-premier and opposition BNP chief Khaleda Zia on Tuesday received a temporary relief after a top court granted her a four month bail in a corruption case, a month after being sentenced to five years in jail. Zia, 72, was sentenced to five years in jail on February 8 in connection with the embezzlement of 21 million taka (about USD 250,000) in foreign donations meant for the Zia Orphanage Trust, named after her late husband Ziaur Rahman, a military ruler-turned-politician.
The High Court in Dhaka on Tuesday granted her a four-month interim bail.