Mar 01 2013
More than 40 people have died, many shot by police, and hundreds have been injured amid violence in Bangladesh over the sentencing to death of an Islamist politician by a court investigating the atrocities of the war of independence from Pakistan.
The Bangladesh court sentenced 73-year-old Delwar Hossain Sayedee, vice-president of the Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami, to death on Thursday, finding him guilty of eight charges connected with the 1971 war, including murder, arson, rape and religious persecution, lawyers said.
The verdict first set off wild scenes of jubilation in Shahbag square, in the capital, Dhaka, where hundreds of thousands of people have been agitating for weeks in favour of executing Islamist politicians on trial for war crimes.
But clashes erupted when backers of Jamaat-e-Islami protested at the verdict. At least 14 demonstrators were said to have been shot dead by security forces across the country in the afternoon. Two policemen and a ruling party activist were also killed. By Friday the death toll was being put at more than 40, according to the Associated Press.
The police defended their actions, saying they acted to maintain law and order.
Protesters also set fire to a Hindu temple and houses in Noakhali district, south of Dhaka, news agencies said. In the town of Cox’s Bazar, a police camp was attacked.