Bangladesh opposition leader accused of Italian’s murder

Dhaka, Oct 25 (IANS) Seven persons, including an opposition party leader, were on Tuesday indicted in a case filed into the killing of Italian citizen Cesare Tavella in Dhaka’s diplomatic enclave Gulshan on September 28 last year in an attack claimed by the Islamic State (IS).

Justice Kamrul Hossain Mollah of Metropolitan Sessions Judge’s Court in Dhaka fixed November 24 for starting the trial in the case, Xinhua news agency reported.

According to the charge sheet, M.A. Qayyum, a leader of former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia’s Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), planned Tavella’s murder as part of a conspiracy to kill any white-skinned foreigner in a bid to create trouble for the government.

Qayyum’s brother M.A. Matin coordinated the murder and hired three assassins to kill a “white man”, the charge sheet said.

Two accused, including Qayyum, are currently absconding.

The remaining five men, including Matin, who are now behind bars, on Tuesday pleaded not guilty and demanded justice after the charges against them were read out.

Bangladesh police have ruled out any IS link to the foreigner’s killing.

A BNP spokesman, who did not wish to be named, has termed the case against Qayyum and his brother as “false and politically motivated”.