Islamist leader's death sentence sparks riots in Bangladesh (PHOTOS)


Bangladeshi social activists shout slogans in Dhaka on September 17, 2013, after a verdict was delivered against Abdul Quader Molla, the fourth-highest leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami party. Bangladesh's top court sentenced to death a senior Islamist opposition official for murder during the 1971 liberation war against Pakistan. Abdul Quader Molla is the first politician to be found guilty by the country's Supreme Court after it rejected an appeal to acquit him of all charges.



Bangladesh's supreme court sentenced Islamist leader Abdul Quader Molla, of Jamaat-e-Islami, to death on Tuesday, sparking riots across the country.

Islamist protesters marched through the capital city of Dhaka and the port city of Chittagong, exploding homemade bombs, torching vehicles and throwing rocks at police.

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Jamaat-e-Islami also released a statement calling for a two-day nationwide strike starting on Wednesday against the "government conspiracy to kill our leaders."

Molla, 65, was originally sentenced by a special tribunal in February to life in prison for his involvement in mass murders during Bangladesh's 1971 war for independence. Protests in Dhaka earlier this year then prompted changes to the law allowing the government to appeal rulings by the tribunal, leading to Molla's newly handed down death sentence.

Attorney General Mahbubey Alam said Molla was given the death sentence for his role in the killings of a man, his pregnant wife and their two-year-old son.

Prosecutors said this latest ruling left no room for review, but one of Molla's defense attorneys said they would appeal.

"We are stunned by the verdict,” defense lawyer Tajul Islam told reporters. “This is the first time in South Asian judicial history that a trial court sentence has been enhanced by a supreme court.”

Law Minister Shafique Ahmed said, however, that Molla would only be spared if he received clemency from the president of Bangladesh.