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Bangladesh ex-politicians, army officers sentenced to death for smuggling arms

By Farid Ahmed, CNN
updated 7:29 AM EST, Thu January 30, 2014
Bangladesh ex-home minister Lutfozzaman Babar (center) waves in a court in Chittagong on January 30, 2014.
Bangladesh ex-home minister Lutfozzaman Babar (center) waves in a court in Chittagong on January 30, 2014.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Of the 52 people initially accused, 38 were acquitted
  • Police seized trucks of sophisticated arms and ammunition
  • Officials sentenced included the ex-director of army intelligence

Dhaka, Bangladesh (CNN) -- A Bangladeshi court Thursday sentenced 14 people to death for smuggling sophisticated arms and ammunition in a case that dates a decade ago.

A court in the southeast port city of Chittagong announced the verdict for the group that included two ex- ministers, former government officials and a top separatist movement leader in India's northeast state of Assam.

Police seized 10 trucks of sophisticated arms and ammunition in April 2004 while they were getting offloaded in a state-run factory supervised by the industry ministry.

They included 4,930 sophisticated firearms, 27,020 grenades and 840 rocket launchers, officials said.

Of the 52 people initially accused, 38 were acquitted.

Officials sentenced included the ex-director of army intelligence, Maj. Gen. Rezzakul Haider Chowdhury, and former national security intelligence director, Brig. Gen. Abdur Rahim.

Paresh Barua, a top leader of United Liberation Front of Assam, was also sentenced to death in absentia. So was former industry secretary, Nurul Amin.

Defense lawyers said they plan to appeal the verdict in a higher court.

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