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Bangladesh's Jama’at calls shutdown after chief's death sentence

Bangladeshs Jama’at calls shutdown after chiefs death sentence

Dhaka: Bangladesh's largest Islamist party, Jama’at-e-Islami, Wednesday called for a country-wide shutdown after its chief Motiur Rahman Nizami was handed down the death sentence for wartime atrocities committed during the country's 1971 Liberation War, media reports said.

The announcement was made on the party's website shortly after the International Crimes Tribunal-1 in Dhaka found Nizami guilty of leading the execution of intellectuals, mass killings, rape and loot during the nine months of bloodshed 43 years ago, the Daily Star reported.

The tribunal found the 71-year-old Jama’at leader guilty on eight out of 16 charges levelled against him in a trial that has been termed ‘unacceptable’ for its lack of transparency by rights groups. The trial began almost four decades after Bangladesh's war of independence.

The Jama’at-e-Islami called the strike from 6 a.m. Thursday to 6 a.m. Friday and 6 a.m. Sunday to 6 a.m. Tuesday.

The party in a statement rejected the court verdict, claiming that the government filed ill-motivated baseless cases against top Jama’at leaders in order to make the party leaderless.

"Charges which have been brought against Nizami are totally false, fabricated and politically motivated," it said.

State Minister for Home Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said that security measures were heightened across Bangladesh and all necessary action would be taken to contain the situation.

Earlier, Justice Rahim began with preliminary remarks before reading out a summary of the 204-page judgment shortly after 11 a.m.

Two other judges of the tribunal, Jahangir Hossain and Mohammad Anwarul Haque, were present in the heavily-guarded court room crowded with lawyers, journalists and observers, reported.

Nizami served as the minister of agriculture from 2001 to 2003, then as the minister of industry from 2003 to 2006 in the four-party alliance government headed by Khaleda Zia.

The decision was denounced by Nizami’s defence team as a breach of justice. They said they would appeal against the verdict.

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