– MUFTI ABDUL HANNAN
* Mufti Abdul Hannan graduated Madrassa (Islamic school) education in Bangladesh and reportedly had higher Islamic education in Deoband and Aligarh University in India. Later he also studied in Gouhardanga Madrassa in Pakistan. His high Islamic education granted him the title of Mufti (Preacher). Mufti Abdul Hannan was then trained in Peshawar, Pakistan, in arms and bomb-making and sent to Afghanistan to fight against the Soviet Army. In Afghanistan Mufti Abdul Hannan sustained injuries in the left hand.
In 1989, after the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan, Mufti Abdul Hannan reportedly was present in the meeting with Osama Bin Laden, Maulana Fazlur Rehman Khalil and Shawkat Osman alias Sheikh Farid, in Peshawar, Pakistan. In the meeting Osama Bin Laden advised them to organize the Muslim youths to transform their countries into Dar-ul-Islam – a part of Islam nation. The meeting led, eventually, to the formation of what became known later as the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami – HuJI.
Mufti Abdul Hannan was one of the founders, in 1992, and operations commander of the Bangladeshi branch of HuJI – the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami Bangladesh- HUJI-B.
In the leadership of HUJI-B Mufti Abdul Hannan, backed by other leaders, was in a conflict with the official leader Shawkat Osman. The struggle of power within HUJI-B made Mufti Abdul Hannan the real acting leader of HUJI-B.
Mufti Abdul Hannan was arrested in Dhaka on 10/01/2005. He had been arrested, initially, in the case related to explosion at the Mohakhali bus terminal on 08/17/2005 (see – BANGLADESH Bombings). Mufti Abdul Hannan was also suspected of facilitating the grenade attack on the Awami League rally in the capital Dhaka on 08/21/2004 and the plot to assassinate the Awami League leader and former female secular Bangladeshi PM Sheikh Hasina, while in power, in 06/2000.
On 07/21/2000 Police recovered huge quantity of explosives, two big live bombs, 21 kg of liquid chemical, three kg of gun powder and some other explosive materials from the venue of a rally that was to be addressed by Sheik Hasina. Mufti Abdul Hannan, became the key suspect behind the assassination plot of the Prime Minister and a wanted fugitive of Bangladesh authority. Mufti Abdul Hannan was sentenced, in 2003, to life imprisonment in absentia.
Despite the publicly known militancy of HUJI-B, Khalida Zia Government (1991-1996 and 2001-2006) persistently denied the presence of the Afghan-returned ‘Holy Warriors’ in Bangladesh. It was however, under the pressure from USA, that forced Khalida Zia to impose a ban on HUJI-B followed by the arrest of its operational commander Mufti Abdul Hannan, on 10/01/2005. Mufti Abdul Hannan had reportedly confessed that Altaf Hossain Choudhury, a minister in Khalida Zia cabinet, had assured him of protection and guaranteed his freedom in the case of his involvement in the assassination attempt of former Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in 06/2000.
In 11/2006 Mufti Abdul Hannan confessed his involvement in various crimes including the grenade attack on the Awami League rally in the capital Dhaka on 08/21/2004, murder, bomb explosions etc. in different parts of Bangladesh. Today (06/2008) Mufti Abdul Hannan is kept in jail and not sentenced, yet, for his additional offences.
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