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Bangladesh Islamic Politician Sentenced to Death

  • VOA News

Activists and former freedom fighters who fought against Pakistan in the 1971 war demonstrate against the verdict on Mohammad Kamaruzzaman in Dhaka, May 9, 2013.

Activists and former freedom fighters who fought against Pakistan in the 1971 war demonstrate against the verdict on Mohammad Kamaruzzaman in Dhaka, May 9, 2013.

A Bangladesh war crimes tribunal has convicted and sentenced to death an Islamist party leader, on charges of genocide and torture of unarmed civilians during the country's 1971 independence war.

The verdict against Muhammad Kamaruzzaman was handed down Thursday in Dhaka, the capital.

He is the fourth Jamaat-e-Islami party member to be sentenced for war crimes since the tribunal was established in 2010.

Kamaruzzaman, who is 61, denies the charges. His lawyer says he will appeal.

Previous rulings from the tribunal have sparked widespread violence.

Critics have accused Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of using the tribunals to decimate the country's opposition parties ahead of elections scheduled for next year.

Bangladesh fought a nine-month war against Pakistan in 1971 to obtain its independence. The government says three million people died in the violence, although other estimates put the death toll lower.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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