Bangladesh Islamist Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid to be executed for 1971 war crimes

A leading Bangladeshi politician was sentenced to death for war crimes committed during the 1971 war of independence with Pakistan.

Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid, 65, was found guilty on Wednesday of "crimes against humanity" including genocide, conspiracy in killing intellectuals, torture and abduction during Bangladesh's fight for independence.

Justice Obaidul Hassan ordered Mujahid be "hanged by the neck" after the panel of three judges at a special tribunal read out the verdict to the packed courtroom in the capital Dhaka, amid tight security.

Mujahid, a leader in the Jamaat-e-Islami party, was among those who supported a unified Pakistan during the 1971 war.

Prosecutors said Mujahid led a militia aimed at killing leaders and intellectuals supporting East Pakistan's independence.

Al Jazeera reported that Mujahid's supporters clashed with security forces in different parts of Bangladesh after he was found guilty.

The verdict was the second this week by the same International Crimes Tribunal after Jamaat's 90-year-old spiritual leader Ghulam Azam was convicted on Monday.

Azam was sentenced to 91 years in prison for masterminding atrocities during the war.

The trials have divided the country, with secularists demanding the execution of all the accused and Islamists branding the trials a sham, aimed at eliminating their leaders.

Mujahid's defense lawyer Saifur Rahman told Al Jazeera outside the court that they would appeal the verdict.

AFP contributed to this report.