Top Islamist leader of Bangladesh Ghulam Azam was on Monday sentenced to 90 years in jail for war crimes during country’s war of independence in 1971.
Bangladesh’s war crimes court held Azam guilty of conspiracy, incitement, failing to prevent murder and observed that the spiritual leader deserves death for his involvement in mass killing and rape during war but handed him jail term due to his old age.
90-year-old Azam, leader of Islamist Jamaat-e-Islam party that he led from 1969 to 2000, is the fifth leader that has sentenced charged for war crimes.
Meanwhile, his supporters termed his conviction and sentencing as politically motivated and clashed with police. Clashed between Jamaat-e-Islam supporters and police have been reported from Dhaka and several cities across the country, though, the police authorities have beefed up the security and reportedly used rubber to disperse Azam’s supporters.
So far, more than 100 persons have died across Bangladesh since January this year in protests against the conviction of opposition party leaders by International Crimes Tribunal.
However, pro-government supporters are demanding death penalty for the accused for their role in war crimes in 1971’s civil war in which Azam had allegedly led militias along with other leaders of his party to commit mass murders as they were against the Bangladesh’s independence from Pakistan.
The war crimes court had earlier sentenced Abdul Kader Mullah for life while Delwar Hossain Sayeedi and the party’s assistant secretary-general, Muhammad Kamaruzzaman were sentenced to death.
As per reports, around 5 lakh were killed during the brutal clashes in country before Indian Army intervened and helped Bangladesh in getting freedom from Pakistan in 1971.