A court in northern Bangladesh on Tuesday sentenced five members of a banned Islamic group to life in prison for their involvement in a series of bombings five years ago.
The judge said the men, members of Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh aged between 22 and 28, were part of a nationwide terror campaign.
The five were found guilty of involvement in bombings at five places in Bogra district on August 17, 2005, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) north of the capital Dhaka, which caused few casualties but shook Muslim—majority Bangladesh, which has been largely spared violent Islamic militancy.
Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh later launched a series of bombings that killed at least 26 people and wounded dozens more. The bombings targeted mainly courts and government offices, as the group denounced Bangladesh’s secular legal system and pressed for adoption of Islamic law.
Additional District and Sessions Judge Nitai Chandra Saha said on Tuesday that the five men were part of a nationwide terror campaign, which threatened peace and national security, although they were not accused in the deadly bombings that followed the attacks in Bogra.
Also on Tuesday, another court in Dhaka sentenced two other men from the group to 20 years in jail for illegally possessing explosives. They were arrested in northern Mymensingh district in 2005. A woman, Fahima Akhter, was also sentenced to 20 years for being their accomplice. She was the wife of the group’s second—in—command Siddiqul Islam.
The government says it has broken the Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh network but there are operatives who are trying to regroup.
Six high—ranking members of the group, including leader Shaikh Abdur Rahman and his deputy Islam, were hanged in 2007 for the killing of two judges in a separate 2005 bomb attack in the southern town of Jhalakathi.