Bangladesh charges politician with Italian’s murder

A Bangladesh court on Tuesday charged an opposition party leader with the murder of an Italian aid worker, drawing an angry reaction from the party which accused the government of trying to discredit it.

Bangladesh charges politician with Italian's murder
Workers carry the coffin containing Cesare Tavella's coffin. Photo: AFP

M.A Quayum, the Dhaka city leader of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), was indicted in absentia over the killing last year of the Italian charity worker Cesare Tavella.

Dhaka police have said the murder was part of a conspiracy to smear the secular government and destabilize Bangladesh, which has suffered a series of Islamist attacks on foreigners and religious minorities.

“The court will start hearing the witnesses from November 24th. Five people are now in custody. Quayum and another (indicted person) are still absconding,” prosecutor Abdullah Abu told AFP.

Tavella was shot dead in Dhaka's diplomatic zone in September last year by assailants riding on a motorbike.

Bangladesh's elite security force Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) said last week he was killed by a new faction of the Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), an extremist group.

But Isis has also claimed responsibility.

The BNP said charging Quayum, who is believed to be living in exile in Malaysia, reflected “the government's malicious intent”.

“The RAB DG (director general) said the new-JMB is responsible for Tavella's murder. But today we saw that Quayum was indicted over the murder,” senior BNP official Asaduzzaman Ripon said.

“Which one shall we believe as the truth? The government is trying to taint BNP's image internationally by blaming our party men for an incident that we condemned in the first place,” Ripon told AFP.

Human rights activist Nur Khan Liton said there should be a fresh investigation.

“Different law enforcing agencies are presenting different versions (of information about the murder),” he told AFP.

“Therefore, it shows the weakness in the charge sheet. We demand reinvestigation to find out the truth.”


 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.