09/17/2013, 00.00
BANGLADESH
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Abdul Quader Mollah, the 'butcher' of Mirpur, sentenced to death

by Sumon Corraya
He is one of the leaders of the Islamist party, this according to the Supreme Court, which upheld his conviction for crimes against humanity. Last February, an international war tribunal had sentenced him to life imprisonment, a ruling Mollah had appealed.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) - The Supreme Court of Bangladesh sentenced to death Abdul Quader Mollah, deputy secretary general of Jamaat-e-Islami (the first Islamic party in the country), for crimes against humanity committed during Bangladesh's war of liberation from Pakistan in 1971.

When verdict was read, many of his supporters staged violent protests in Chittagong. In the ensuing clashes, two policemen were injured. Since then, tensions continue to run high.

Mollah, 65, is accused of having planned a series of executions, including the massacre of Mirpur (a Dhaka district), which earned him the nickname of koshai, the "butcher".

An international tribunal had sentenced him to life imprisonment on the same charges last February.

Mollah challenged the verdict in appeal to the Supreme Court, which, however, upheld the conviction and increased the sentence.

His sentence seven months ago sparked anger among supporters of the Islamist party. This resulted in violent protests that intensified after the 'international' war tribunal set up by the ruling party Awami League sentenced to death other Jamaat leaders.

Since then, party militants have also organised general strikes (hartal) on a semi-regular basis, which often degenerate into vandalism and clashes with the police.

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