Bangladesh court permits police to question Islamic militant leader

A court in northern Bangladesh granted police permission Tuesday to hold for 10 days a top Islamic militant suspect and question him about his involvement in a string of bombings, police said.

Security forces captured Siddiqul Islam, leader of the banned militant group Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh, on March 6 at his hide-out in Mymensingh district, about 110 kilometers (70 miles) north of the capital, Dhaka.

Islam's appearance at the a magistrate's court in Mymensingh was delayed for more than two weeks while doctors in Dhaka treated the wounds he suffered when he detonated a bomb in efforts to avoid arrest, police investigator Fakhruddin Bhuiyan said.

Magistrate Atiqur Rahman told police investigators to keep Islam in remand for a further 10 days because of the delay, Bhuiyan said.

No one applied for bail for Islam, who was brought to the court under heavy police guard.

Authorities blame Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh for a string of bomb attacks across Bangladesh last year that killed 26 people and wounded dozens. The outlawed group seeks to replace the Muslim-majority country's secular laws with harsh Islamic rules.

Police say the group's main leader Shaikh Abdur Rahman, captured in a separate raid this month, has claimed responsibility for the bombings.

Investigators questioning Rahman said he told them that by bombing courts and government buildings, he hoped to draw attention to the group's campaign.

Both men faces sedition and murder charges. If convicted, they could face the death sentence, reports the AP.

I.L.