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Bangladesh Sentences War Criminal to Death

A Bangladeshi war crimes court has sentenced a senior Islamist opposition leader to death for crimes committed during the 1971 war against Pakistan for Bangladesh's independence.

The court in Dhaka Thursday handed down the sentence to Delwar Hossain Sayedee, a senior member of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, for atrocities including rape and mass killings.

Sayedee's lawyer has called the verdict unjust and vowed to appeal.

The verdict sparked violence among demonstrators in several cities, leading to at least two deaths in clashes between police and protesters .

Sayedee is the third Jemaat party member to be sentenced for war crimes since the tribunal was established in 2010.



On January 21, the court sentenced Abul Kalam Azad to death in absentia, finding him guilty of torture, rape, and genocide. On February 5, it sentenced Abdul Quader Mollah to life in prison on similar charges. At least eight more Jemaat members are still on trial.

Human rights organizations have questioned the fairness of the trials, saying members of the defense have been unduly pressured.

Jamaat-e-Islami called for a general strike Thursday to denounced the trial and demand Sayedee's freedom.

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.

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Steve Herman
Steve Herman
UNOCHA
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United Nations