Bangladesh strike over Abdul Kader Mullah sentence

The BBC's Anbarasan Ethirajan explains the anger surrounding the sentencing of Abdul Kader Mullah

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Clashes have broken out across Bangladesh during a strike called by the largest Islamist party, a day after one of its leaders was sentenced to death for war crimes.

Abdul Kader Mullah is be hanged for crimes against humanity during the 1971 war of independence with Pakistan.

His party Jamaat-e-Islami called the two-day nationwide strike, describing the trial as politically motivated.

However, his sentence was welcomed by his opponents.

Schools and businesses were shut on Wednesday. Motorways were empty and bus services were also suspended, reports said.

Police fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse protesters in the western city of Rajshahi, while the protesters threw bricks.

One man was killed in southern Bangladesh after being hit by a stone thrown by protesters, officials said.

Bangladesh independence war, 1971

Soldier
  • Civil war erupts in Pakistan, pitting the West Pakistan army against East Pakistanis demanding autonomy and later independence
  • Fighting forces an estimated 10 million East Pakistani civilians to flee to India
  • In December, India invades East Pakistan in support of the East Pakistani people
  • Pakistani army surrenders at Dhaka and its army of more than 90,000 become Indian prisoners of war
  • East Pakistan becomes the independent country of Bangladesh on 16 December 1971
  • The war was devastating in its brutality but there are a range of estimates for the exact number of people killed - government figures estimate as many as three million died. Other studies suggest 300-500,000 perished.

Border guards have been deployed in the capital to manage law and order, the BBC's Anbarasan Ethirajan in Dhaka reports.

Dhaka's busy commercial districts are mostly deserted, our correspondent adds.

Cars vandalised

Mullah was sentenced to life imprisonment for war crimes by a special tribunal in February.

Human rights groups have said the tribunal falls short of international standards.

The sentence at the time prompted angry protests from critics who said it was too lenient. His supporters, meanwhile, said the charges were politically motivated

Mullah appealed to Bangladesh's Supreme Court against his life sentence, while the state appealed for a tougher sentence.

Clashes broke out on Tuesday after the court sentenced him to death.

Many buses and cars were vandalised in the southern region of Chittagong, our correspondent says.

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