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Bangladesh Executes Top Islamist Leader

Bangladesh -- Bangladeshi Jamaat-e-Islami party leader Motiur Rahman Nizami sits inside a van while being taken to a prison after being sentenced at the International Crimes Tribunal court in Dhaka, October 29, 2014

The chief of Bangladesh's largest Islamist political party has been executed for crimes committed during the country's 1971 war of liberation against Pakistan.

Law minister Anisul Haq said Motiur Rahman Nizami, 72, had been hanged in Dhaka's central prison early in the morning local time on May 11.

Security was tightened across the country ahead of the execution, which comes after Nizami lost last week his final appeal against the sentence.

Hundreds of people flooded the streets of the capital to cheer the execution. Supporters of Nizami protested outside the prison where the sentence was carried out.

Nizami, leader of the Jamaat-e Islami party, was convicted of murder, rape, and orchestrating the killing of intellectuals during the most gruesome chapter of the war.

Convictions in 2013 of Jamaat officials triggered a wave of violence that left about 500 people dead and led to the arrests of thousands of Islamists.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters