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CRIME

Bangladesh official charged over Italian’s murder

Bangladesh police have charged seven people including a senior opposition official over the murder of an Italian aid worker last September, an officer said on Tuesday

Bangladesh official charged over Italian's murder
Tavella's body leaves Bangladesh. Photo: Munir Az Zaman/AFP

The killing near the capital's diplomatic zone was the first in a wave of attacks to be claimed by the Islamic State group, and was followed days later by the gunning down of a Japanese farmer in northern Bangladesh.
   
Bangladesh authorities rejected the IS claim of responsibility, saying the group had no presence in the country.
   
The government and police say homegrown militants are responsible for the deaths of nearly 50 secular activists, foreigners and religious minorities killed over the last three years.
   
They say the deaths are part of a plot to destabilize the country, and have blamed the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its Islamist ally.
   
Deputy commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police Sheikh Nazmul Alam said seven people had been charged with the murder of 50-year-old Italian Cesare Tavella, including two BNP officials.
   
“We submitted the chargesheet against the seven on Monday. Those who are charged include Abdul Quayum who masterminded the attack,” Alam told AFP, referring to a senior BNP official who is believed to be living in exile in Malaysia.
   
He said the attack was part of a plot “to tarnish the image of the country and destabilize it”.
   
Quayum denied the charge, telling the Daily Star newspaper he was being victimized because of his political affiliation.
   
BNP spokesman Ruhul Kabir Rizvi said the charge was “false and politically motivated”.
   
“It is an attempt to hide the real killers,” Rizvi told AFP.
   
Bangladesh this month launched a nationwide crackdown on local jihadist groups, arresting more than 11,000 people, under pressure to act on the spate of killings.
   
But many rights groups allege the arrests were arbitrary or were a way to silence political opponents of the government.
   
Experts say a government crackdown on opponents, including a ban on the country's largest Islamist party following a protracted political crisis, has pushed many towards extremism.
   
Dhaka police chief Asaduzzaman Khan said after Tavella's death that his murder was intended to “embarrass the government” and prove the country was unsafe for foreigners.
   
International schools closed temporarily after the murders and embassies restricted their diplomats' movements, while Australia's cricket team cancelled a planned tour over security concerns.

CRIME

 Italian police arrest mafia member after three women killed in Rome

Italian police on Saturday arrested a mafia member suspected of killing two alleged Chinese prostitutes and a Colombian sex worker in Rome, local media reported.

 Italian police arrest mafia member after three women killed in Rome

The bodies of the two Chinese women were discovered in a residential building in the upmarket Prati district on Thursday morning, while the body of the South American was found in an apartment in the same neighbourhood an hour later.

All three victims were stabbed, according to Italian media reports.

According to the Corriere della Sera newspaper, footage from surveillance cameras allowed police to identify 51-year-old Giandavide De Pau, who had been prosecuted in the past for drug trafficking and sexual assault.

The suspect is reportedly a member of a mafia clan headed by Michele Senese, who is currently serving a life sentence. De Pau is believed to have been one of Senese’s closest collaborators, acting as his personal driver and handyman.

In 2008 and 2011, the suspect had also spent time in a psychiatric hospital.

It is unknown whether the suspected killer was carrying out a mafia hit or acting alone, possibly under the influence of drugs, which were found at the home of some family members where he is believed to have sought refuge after the police manhunt got underway, Corriere della Sera reported.

Several newspapers had warned of a possible “serial killer” in the Italian capital.

The body of one of the Chinese victims was spotted by a neighbour where it lay, naked on a landing. The woman, believed to be in her 40s, had suffered head and stomach injuries, the newspaper said.

When police entered her apartment, they found the body of the second Chinese woman.

Nobody in the building appeared to have heard the murders take place, according to residents.

“Everybody knew there was a house of ill repute here, I’d see people arriving at 2:00 am, 3:00 am,” a woman who lived in the building told reporters.

The body of the Colombian, who was 65, was found by a friend, Corriere della Sera said.

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