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Last Updated: Monday, 20 February 2006, 10:34 GMT
Bangladesh 'militants' sentenced
Security personnel inspect the wreckage after a bomb exploded in Gaizipur
The government blames JMB for recent bombings
A Bangladeshi court has sentenced four fugitives accused of Islamic militancy to 40 years in prison for a bomb attack that killed two judges last November.

They include Shaykh Abdur Rahman, chief of the banned Jamaat-ul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) and Siddiqul Islam, alias Bangla Bhai, officials say.

Two judges died when a suicide bomber attacked the court-house in southern Jhalakathi district last November.

The four fugitives are also facing a murder charge for the same incident.

This is the third such sentence handed down to members of the JMB.

'Fresh trials'

A special court in Barisal - south of the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka - said that both Rehman and his deputy, Bangla Bhai had masterminded the suicide attack.

Court officials said all four militants have been charged under the country's Explosives Act and their sentences will commence as soon as they are arrested.

Bangladeshi police search people at the entrance to the High Court in Dhaka
Security has been tightened after courts were targeted

"The judgement was given for the bomb attack under the country's Explosives Act, and fresh trials will be held against them for killing the judges," a police officer told the Reuters news agency.

Murder charges in Bangladesh carry a death penalty if there is a conviction.

Earlier this month, the special court had given 30-year jail sentences to three militants said to belong to the JMB, including the suicide bomber, for the death of the judges.

Last month another JMB activist was sentenced to 15 years in jail by another court for militant activities.

The government holds the JMB responsible for the string of bombings across the country since August last year, which has killed at least 30 people.

The militant group has been demanding the introduction of Islam's Sharia law in the country.

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