Bangladesh police hold 20 Islamic party activists

AP News
Posted: Oct 28, 2010 9:10 AM
Bangladesh police hold 20 Islamic party activists

Police said Thursday they have arrested 20 members of Bangladesh's largest Islamic party and seized homemade bombs from a house where they were holding a meeting.

Police officer Monir Uz Zaman said the activists from the Jamaat-e-Islami party were arrested in Dhaka's northern Mirpur district early Thursday.

He said the men are being held under a special law that allows detention without formal charges.

Among the detainees is Mustafizur Rahman, a former lawmaker and central committee member of the party, he said.

Police seized six homemade bombs and explosives from the house, Zaman said.

He said police conducted the raid after being tipped off that party members were planning to disturb law and order. The allegation is being investigated, he said.

Party leaders were not immediately available for comment.

The party seeks to establish Islamic Shariah laws in Bangladesh, a Muslim-majority nation governed by liberal secular laws.

It is an ally of Bangladesh's largest opposition group, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party led by former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, archrival of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

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Its chief, Motiur Rahman Nizami, and three other senior party leaders are already in custody. They were arrested in July on charges of crimes against humanity during Bangladesh's 1971 war for independence against Pakistan.

Jamaat-e-Islami sided with the Pakistani army, which was accused of killing 3 million civilians during the nine-month war.