Protests spark as Bangladesh set to execute top leader

Scores protest Bangladesh's decision to proceed with executing Motiur Rahman Nizami

Protests spark as Bangladesh set to execute top leader

World Bulletin / News Desk

The Bangladesh's highest court decision to uphold the death sentence for the leader of the country's largest-party Motiur Rahman Nizami for crimes during its 1971 independence struggle has sparked massive protests.

Security was tight across Bangladesh. Previous convictions of the Jamaat-e-Islami Party officials triggered the country's deadliest violence since independence with some 500 people killed, mainly in clashes between demonstrators and police.

"We've stepped up security. It is sufficient to prevent any violence," deputy police commissioner Maruf Hossain Sorder said ahead of the verdict.    

However, Jamaat supporters clashed with police as they staged impromptu protests and marches in several towns and cities, police and local media said.

Police fired rubber bullets to disperse the protesters in the northwestern city of Rajshahi, local police chief Golam Saqlaen said.

"We have detained two people from the scene," he said.

The party also called for a nationwide strike on Thursday, saying the charges against Nizami were "false, baseless and imaginary".

"The government wants to steer the country towards terrible conflict in a planned way by killing Motiur Rahman Nizami in cold blood through its own fixed blueprint," the party said in a statement on its website, calling him an "internationally acclaimed Islamic scholar". 

Jamaat said Nizami would now seek a review of the judgement. Defence lawyer Khandker Mahbub Hossain told reporters they would decide their course of action after consulting him.

Since it was established by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's government in 2010, the International Crimes Tribunal has sentenced more than a dozen opposition leaders for war crimes.

Rights groups say the trials fall short of global standards and lack any international oversight.

The secular government maintains they are needed to heal the wounds of the conflict.

Last Mod: 07 Ocak 2016, 11:47
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