Bangladesh Jamaat leader sentenced to death
Delwar Hossain Sayedee of largest Islamic party convicted of atrocities during 1971 independence war.
Delwar Hossain Sayedee is the vice president of opposition Jamaat-e-Islami [AP]
( February 28, 2013, Dhaka, Sri Lanka Guardian) A special tribunal in Bangladesh has sentenced a leader of the opposition Jamaat-e-Islami party to death for allegedly committing atrocities during the country's 1971 war of independence from Pakistan.
Delwar Hossain Sayedee, vice-president of the party, was convicted on Thursday of genocide, rape and religious persecution.
Meanwhile, a nationwide strike called by Jaamat-e-Islami to protest what it called politically motivated trials of its entire leadership, including its chief and his deputy leader, has left much of Bangladesh paralysed.
Earlier this month the International Crimes Tribunal, a local court, sentenced Jamaat's assistant secretary general Abdul Quader Molla to life imprisonment, sparking deadly protests by Islamists that left 16 people dead.
The verdict also enraged secular protesters, tens of thousands of whom have since poured onto a central Dhaka intersection to reject the "lighter sentence" and demand the execution of Jamaat leaders.
Security was tight in the Bangladeshi capital on Thursday, with around 10,000 policemen on patrol. The government has also deployed border guards as reinforcement to prevent violence.
Schools and shops were shut and roads in Dhaka and inter-city motorways were empty.
The tribunal, a domestic body with no international oversight, has been tainted by controversies and allegations it is targeting only the opposition.
But the scale of recent secular protests show a large section of Bangladeshis support moves to punish those linked to atrocities during 1971.