A Bangladeshi tribunal on Wednesday handed down death sentences to five militants from the banned JMB outfit, including a former navy soldier, for a bomb attack at a mosque inside a major navy installation near southeastern port city of Chattogram seven years ago.
Chattogram Anti-Terrorism Tribunal Judge Abdul Halim pronounced the verdict as four of the five convicts were on the dock, court officials said.
The fifth militant was tried in absentia as he was on the run. All the convicts belonged to outlawed Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB).
Pronouncing the death sentences, the judge also imposed a penalty of Tk 50,000 (USD 526 approx) on each of them.
In his observation, the judge commented that the convicts' act of terrorism inside a naval base tantamount to attack on Bangladesh's independence and sovereignty, belittling those who were engaged to guard the country's maritime boundary.
Public Prosecutor Manoranjan Das said one of the convicts, M Sakhawat Hossain, was a former navy soldier.
The militants had detonated bombs at the navy-run mosque during Friday prayers on December 18, 2015, leaving 24 defence personnel and civilians injured, sparking a nationwide uproar.
The verdict came coinciding with the 17th anniversary of the countrywide bomb attacks on August 17, 2005 carried out by JMB to make known their emergence as a militant outfit.
On that day, JMB simultaneously exploded some 500 bombs at 434 locations in 63 out of Bangladesh's 64 administrative districts. Only two people were killed in the countrywide attacks as the JMB at that time preferred to not to use strong explosives.
A police spokesman said 159 cases were lodged at different police stations across the country in connection with the bombings.
Trials of 94 cases related to the bombings have been completed so far and 27 JMB leaders and operatives were sentenced to death and 334 sentenced to different jail terms.
Bangladesh has so far executed eight top JMB leaders.
Bangladesh had said last month that it will start a de-radicalisation campaign for Islamists in jail after years of security clampdown visibly waning militant outfits' strength.