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April 16, 2014

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14 sentenced to death in Bangladesh arms smuggling

Updated Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014 | 11:50 p.m.

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — A court in Bangladesh has convicted 14 people including two former senior officials of smuggling weapons to a rebel group in neighboring India and sentenced them to death.

Security officials had seized more than 4,000 firearms and 1 million bullets and other military equipment in April 2004 when they were being unloaded from fishing boats. According to case documents, the weapons and ammunition were destined for a former Indian insurgency group called the United Liberation Front of Asom.

The insurgents in northeastern India had fought for greater autonomy for their ethnic groups in Assam state before signing a cease-fire with the Indian government in 2011.

Among those convicted and sentenced to death on Thursday is Matiur Rahman Nizami, a former industries minister and head of the country's main Islamist opposition party Jamaat-e-Islami.