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Bangladesh: Islamist leader found guilty of war crimes

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Bangladesh: Islamist leader found guilty of war crimes


The 91-year-old former leader of an Islamic party in Bangladesh has been found guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced to 90 years in jail.

The war crimes tribunal in the capital Dhaka found Ghulam Azam guilty of five charges relating to his role in setting up militia groups which carried out atrocities during Bangladesh’s 1971 independence war.

The verdict has angered supporters who said the trial was politically motivated and also opponents who said he should be executed.

One man who fought in the 1971 war gave his opinion: “As a freedom fighter I am happy with this verdict as he was the number one war criminal, but I would be much happier if he got the death penalty.

Azam led the Jamaat-e-Islami party in then east Pakistan in 1971 when Bangladesh became independent through a bloody war. He is among several Jamaat-e-Islami leaders convicted of collaborating with the Pakistani army.

War crime verdicts handed out by the courts have previously sparked clashes, with more than 100 people killed in political violence since January.

Both the defence and the prosecution have said they will appeal.

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