Dhaka: A top leader of Jamaat-e-Islami party was sentenced to death Wednesday by a special tribunal in Bangladesh for crimes against humanity during the country's independence war against Pakistan in 1971, triggering violence.
Abdus Subhan, in his early 80s, was sentenced by the three-member International Crimes Tribunal-2 here, saying six of the nine charges against him were proved beyond doubt.
"He (Subhan) will be hanged till death," chairman of the tribunal Obaidul Haque said as he read out the 165-page verdict.
Suspected anti-government activists exploded three crude bombs outside the court after Subhan was convicted for murder, loot, abduction, confinement, arson and torture, prompting authorities to tighten the security of the premises.
The verdict may raise tensions in the country where more than 100 people have died since January in anti-government protests led by ex-premier Khaleda Zia's Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its ally Jama’at over last year's elections.
Subhan, a vice president of the party, is the 17 and the last of the high-profile figures to be convicted since the start of the war crime trials in 2010 against Jama’at leaders, who were opposed to the country's independence.
According to the chargesheet, Subhan guided Pakistani soldiers to kill over 300 villagers at his home district in northwestern Pabna. The tribunal found that Subhan himself killed many of them, a charge Subhan and his party rejected.
Subhan had fled the country at the end of the independence war and returned home after the August 1975 coup which toppled the country's post independence government.
He was indicted in December last year, an year after his arrest on charges of war crimes along with other Jama’at leaders.
Since Bangladesh launched the war crimes trial, the two special tribunals, set up by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's secular government in 2010, have handed down death penalties to 13 people.
Only one of them, Jamaat's joint secretary general Abdul Quader Mollah so far has been executed.