Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) opposition leader Tarique Rahman was sentenced to life in jail in absentia by a Dhaka court on Wednesday, October 10, over a 2004 grenade attack that targeted current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Some 19 others, including two former ministers, have been sentenced to death over the deadly attack. Nationwide protests and human chains are likely to be organized by the BNP in the coming days and weeks. Related clashes between rival groups or with security forces cannot be ruled out.
The government has indicated that they will appeal to the Supreme Court to demand the death penalty for Rahman. The opposition will also seek to appeal the decision, further exacerbating surrounding tensions.
On a related note, the BNP is likely to increase the frequency of its protests in the run-up to the general elections scheduled to take place in the third week of December, although no specific date has been set as of yet. Rahman, in exile in the UK since 2008, will run the opposition's campaign from London.
Individuals present in Bangladesh, particularly in Dhaka and Chittagong, are advised to avoid all public gatherings and demonstrations due to the risk of violence and adhere to any instructions issued by local authorities.
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