Former JMB chief Maulana Saidur Rahman was sentenced to seven-and-a-half-year of imprisonment yesterday, seven years after his arrest.
Judge KM Imrul Kayes of the Special Judge Court-6 of Dhaka also handed down the same sentence to two other members -- Abdullah Hel Kafi and his wife Ayesha Akhter -- of the banned outfit in a case filed for planning subversive activities in May 2010.
“This is the first time Saidur has been sentenced in a case,” Saidur's lawyer Shajanaz Sathi told The Daily Star.
Saidur is also accused in seven other militancy-related cases filed with different police stations. He was indicted in two of the cases.
He took the helm of banned Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) after its founding chief Shayakh Abdur Rahman, his deputy Siddiqul Islam alias Bangla Bhai and four other top leaders of the outfit were executed on March 29, 2007.
On May 25, 2010, police arrested Saidur and two others from a house in the city's East Dania area. During the raid, they also recovered a huge cache of bomb-making materials, firearms and ammunition and jihadi books.
Later, a case was filed against Saidur and two others under the Anti-Terrorism Act with Kadamtoli Police Station.
According to the prosecution, it was alleged that Saidur and others planned to create anarchy by carrying out subversive activities across the country.
Saidur was brought to the court in a wheelchair yesterday. The two others convicted in the same case are on the run.
Kafi and Ayesha went into hiding after obtaining bail from the High Court and were tried in absentia.
The court fined them both Tk 1 lakh each, in default of which they will have to serve one year more. The punishment of the fugitives will be effective from the day of their arrest or surrender, the judge said.
Public Prosecutor Kazi Jahangir Hossain expressed his satisfaction with the verdict.
In his observation, the judge said Saidur misinterpreted the Holy Quran and misled and instigated people.
The court framed charges against Saidur and two others on February 12 this year.
After an investigation into the case, detectives pressed charges against the three on August 7, 2010.
The Metropolitan Sessions Judge's Court later transferred the case to the Special Judge's Court-6 for its disposal where the trial began. But it was learnt that the investigation officer did not get any approval for pressing charges from the home ministry, which was mandatory.
The case was later sent back to its previous court for the next course of action. The sessions court then sent a letter to the home ministry for its approval on September 8, 2015.
The ministry gave its approval on August 26 last year.