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Tuesday, 24 September, 2002, 16:44 GMT 17:44 UK
Bangladesh jails Indian rebel chief
Ulfa rebels
The rebel insurgency dates back to 1979

A Bangladeshi court has sentenced Indian separatist leader Anup Chetia to seven years in jail for the illegal possession of a satellite phone.

Anup Chetia, whose real name is Golap Baruah, was already serving a jail sentence after his arrest in Dhaka in 1997.

He has been held in Dhaka prison for illegally entering Bangladesh while several other charges against him were investigated.

As one of the founder members of the United Liberation Front of Assam (Ulfa), the rebel leader's main cause was to fight for the independence of the north-eastern Indian state of Assam.

Anup Chetia has four cases hanging over his head.

If convicted, he could end up spending a total of nine years in prison.

'Most wanted' by Assam

In three other cases he was charged with illegally entering Bangladesh using a forged passport, possession of illegal foreign currency from 16 different countries, the illegal possession of arms.

Map

Mr Chetia, considered one of the top leaders of the United liberation front of Assam (ULFA), is also wanted by Assam police in several cases involving killing, kidnapping and extortion.

The Assam police have listed him as most wanted and say he is armed, violent and well trained in guerrilla warfare tactics.

Since his arrest in 1997 the Indian government has asked Bangladesh to hand over Anup Chetia.

But Bangladesh turned down the request on grounds that the two countries do not have an extradition treaty.

Analysts say , India frequently accuse Bangladesh of sheltering separatist guerrilla groups active in the country's seven north-eastern states, but Bangladesh consistently deny the allegations.

Anup Chetia was the General Secretary of the United liberation front of Assam (ULFA) but political analysts in the region doubt his powers within the organization now.

See also:

16 May 01 | South Asia
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