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Bangladesh Sentences Islamist Leader for War Crimes

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A Bangladesh war crimes court has convicted a top Islamic party leader of war crimes.

Monday, the court in Dhaka handed down a sentence of life in prison for Ghulam Azam. The 90-year-old Azam was found guilty of masterminding atrocities carried out during the country's 1971 war for independence from Pakistan.

Junior Attorney General M.K. Rahman says he was spared the death penalty because of his age and health.



"He has been found guilty of all the five charges, and the Tribunal came to the conclusion that he deserves the highest penalty of death. But considering his age and ailments in prison he has been awarded different terms of sentence. Totally a sentence of ninety years or until death in prison."



Azam is the spiritual leader of the country's largest Islamic party, Jamaat-e-Islami, and is one of several of the groups leaders convicted of colluding with the Pakistan army during the war.

Violence in response to the verdict broke out across Bangladesh, pitting Azam's supporters against law enforcement personnel.

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