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Myanmar Man Serving 10 Years for Explosives Offense Dies in Bangladesh Prison

By Muktadir Rashid   17 June 2019

DHAKA—A Myanmar national linked to a deadly blast in India in October 2014 died at a hospital in Dhaka on Friday after reportedly complaining of “sudden chest pain” inside a high-security prison in the Bangladeshi capital.

Yasir Arafat, 27, was sentenced to 10 years in prison on April 28 by Dhaka Special Tribunal-4 along with two other Myanmar nationals, Muhammed Nur Hossain (alias Rafiqul Islam), 30, and Omar Karim, 29, for possessing explosives. Their arrests followed a raid in Dhaka’s Lalbagh area carried out by the Detective Branch of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police on Nov. 30, 2014. Cases were opened against them on Dec. 1 of that year.

Arafat was serving his sentence in Kashimpur Central Jail in Dhaka. Karim has been on the run since securing bail following his 2014 arrest. The Irrawaddy was not able to confirm where Hossain is incarcerated.

At the time of his death, Arafat was also a defendant, along with two other two, in a separate case under the Anti-Terrorism Act. That case was also filed at Lalbagh Police Station in December 2014.

Kashimpur Jail Part-2 senior superintendent Subrata Kumar Bala said Yasir complained of chest pain at about 9:00 pm on Friday night and was rushed to the Shaheed Tajuddin Medical College Hospital in the capital’s Gazipur Division, where he was declared dead at about 9:50 pm.

He said the prison would ask relevant officials to communicate with Myanmar authorities over Arafat’s burial and other formalities.

The hospital’s resident medical officer, Pronoy Bhusan Das, said the prisoner was dead on arrival at the hospital and that an autopsy was performed.

“We saw no injury marks on him but collected his viscera for chemical examination,” Pronoy said.

During their trial in the explosives case, the prosecution accused the three of being involved with a transnational extremist group. Bangladeshi counterterrorism officials said they cooperated with Indian investigators on the case.

The arrests of Arafat, Hossain and Karim came two months after an explosion in a house in the Khagragarh area of Burdwan, India on Oct. 2, 2014 that left two suspected extremists killed and another injured.

Indian police seized 55 improvised explosive devices, an amount of the organic explosive compound RDX, wristwatch dials and SIM cards at the scene.

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