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Islamist Leader In Bangladesh To Be Hanged For War Crimes

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 leader of Bangladesh’s largest Islamist party, Jamaat-e Islami, is scheduled to hang within days after the country’s Supreme Court on May 5 upheld his death sentence for war crimes.

Motiur Rahman Nizami was convicted of murder, rape, and orchestrating the killing of intellectuals during Bangladesh’s 1971 war of independence from what was then East Pakistan.

Nizami had been tried by a war crimes tribunal set up by the government in Dhaka that has sparked deadly protests.

Prosecutors said Nizami was responsible for setting up the Al-Badr pro-Pakistani militia – which killed writers, doctors, and journalists during the most gruesome chapter of the war.

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

Jamaat-e Islami and its ally, the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party, say the war crimes tribunal was set up to eliminate their leaders.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters