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Islamist gets 90 years for war crimes

15 July 2013, 16:33

Dhaka - A former leader of Bangladesh's largest Islamist opposition party was sentenced to 90 years in jail on Monday for war crimes, as his party called for a nationwide strike in protest.

Ghulam Azam, former chief of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami party, was tried by a special war crimes tribunal investigating alleged crimes by several of the party's leaders during the country's 1971 war of independence against Pakistan.

"Allegations of war crimes against Azam were proved beyond doubt, and the court sentenced him to 90 years in prison or in prison until his death," Additional Attorney General MK Rahman said.

Azam, aged 90, was convicted of involvement in genocide, murder and torture of civilians, and other crimes against humanity during the nine-month war, which left around 3 million people dead, 200 000 women raped and thousands of homes torched.

He was also found guilty of colluding with Pakistani forces' attacks on civilians during the conflict.

Judge ATM Fazle Kabir pronounced the verdict amid tight security, Rahman said.

Jamaat-e-Islami had called for a strike Monday, demanding the release of Azam and other of its former leaders facing war crimes charges, which the party says are politically motivated.



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