DHAKA: At lease seventeen people have been killed on Thursday in clashes that erupted after a Bangladeshi court sentenced a Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) senior leader to death on charges of being involved in killing, rape and religious persecution during the 1971 independence war against Pakistan.
The 73-year-old Delwar Hossain Sayedee, the vice-president of the JI and a fiery Islamic preacher, was the third person to be found guilty by the International Crimes Tribunal, a much-criticised domestic court based in Dhaka, set up to investigate abuses during the country’s independence war.
Sayedee’s religious party, the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI), had enforced a nationwide strike in anticipation of the verdict against Sayedee and demanded a halt to what it dismisses as politically motivated trials of its entire leadership.
Following the court verdict, thoudands of JI workers took to the streets in more than a dozen districts, prompting severe clashes that broke out between police and protesters.
Police and media reports said at least 17 people have been killed and around 200 wounded in clashes between Jamaat activists and police as widespread protests erupted after a court in Dhaka gave its verdict against Sayedee.
In the capital, authorities deployed extra police and members of a rapid response force and put paramilitary soldiers on standby to maintain security, a Home Ministry official told reporters.