» 07/16/2013 BANGLADESH Violence erupts in Bangladesh after verdict against former Islamic leader by Sumon Corraya 90 year-old Ghulam Azam sentenced to 90 years in prison for war crimes. The verdict sparks explosions, clashes and scenes of urban warfare all over Bangladesh for national hartal (strikes) organized by supporters of the Jamaat-e-Islami (Islamic Party) and secular activists of Gonojagoron Mancha. Four people die, including a child.
Dhaka (AsiaNews) - Four dead,
including a 9 year old girl and dozens of wounded, buses, shops and private
cars vandalized and set on fire. This is the provisional toll from the National
hartal (strike) called in Bangladesh, after the verdict issued yesterday by the
International Crimes Tribunal in Dhaka. The
court sentenced 91 year old Islamist leader and former president of
Jamaat-e-Islami (Islamic Party), Ghulam Azam to 90 years in jail, for his role
in the crimes committed during the Independence War (1971). A
ruling that left everyone unhappy: the supporters of the Jamaat, are demanding
their leaders absolution, Gonojagoron Mancha civil rights activists instead say
the sentence is too light and call for the death penalty.
The courts have recognized Azam
guilty of all the charges: murder, torture of unarmed people, conspiracy,
incitement and complicity in genocide. Being
91, by law the judges spared Ghulam the death penalty.
there were demonstrations inside and outside the courtroom. Gonojagoron
Mancha activists gathered in Shahbagh, district of Dhaka considered the
"Tahrir Square" of Bangladesh, calling for the death penalty. Today
both the Islamic party that secular movement have called for a hartal, which
as expected has turned into urban warfare.
of Jamaat and Islami Chhatra Shibir (student wing of the party), detonated 11
homemade bombs in Chittagong, nine in Comilla and one in Narayanganj. Of
the four deaths, two are students of the Islami Chhatra Shibir, killed in clashes
with the police. The
others are a 60 year old man, who was killed in Dinajpur by bricks thrown by
some picketers, and a 9 year old girl, knocked down in Gazipur by a bus trying to
flee the violence.