In what a special Bangladeshi war crimes tribunal called a ‘historic’ verdict, the head of Jamaat-e-Islmai, Motiur Rahman Nizami, was handed death sentence for 1971 war crimes, sparking fears of fresh violence.
71-year-old Nizami was tried on over a dozen charges and found guilty of genocide, torture, murder, rape etc.
Announcing the verdict, the three-member court ruled that the former cabinet minister must be “hanged by neck to death” as despite being a scholar he “misinterpreted Quran” and was involved in killing of professors, doctors and writers during the nine-month conflict, the AFP quoted prosecutor Haider Ali.
During the conflict, Nizami ran a brutal militia named Al-Badr, which was notorious for having committed heinous war crimes.
Security has been beefed up in Dhaka and across the country as the verdict has triggered fresh fears of the country’s largest religious party fomenting marches and violence in protest of Nizami’s death sentence.
Some two lakh women were reportedly raped, three million people were killed and millions more were forced to escape to India in the 1971 war of independence after Bangladesh split from Pakistan.
About a dozen Islamist leaders have been convicted of war crimes by the tribunal which is opposed by the Islamists as a tool by the Sheikh Hasin government to settle scores against the opposition.
While PM Sheikh Hasina considers it as a way to bring to task the perpetrators of atrocities in 1971 war that left scores dead.