U.K. media is reporting that Bangladeshi Jamaat-e-Islami leader Delwar Hossain Sayedee was found guilty of eight counts of war crimes committed during the nation’s 1971 fight for independence. According to a Guardian report:
Thursday 28 February 2013 09.32 GMT A special war crimes tribunal in Bangladesh has sentenced the leader of an Islamic political party to death for crimes stemming from the nation’s 1971 fight for independence, a politically charged decision that sparked violent protests. The Jamaat-e-Islami leader Delwar Hossain Sayedee was found guilty of eight counts out of 20 involving mass killings, rape and atrocities during the nine-month war against Pakistan, the prosecutor Syed Haider Ali said. The verdict was announced by the presiding tribunal judge ATM Fazle Kabir in a packed courtroom. ‘Justice has been done to those who lost their loved ones at the hands of Sayedee,’ Ali said. Lawyers for the defendant boycotted the tribunal during the verdict and rejected it as politically motivated. Sayedee’s lawyer Abdur Razzak said they would appeal. Jamaat-e-Islami was enforcing a nationwide general strike on Thursday to denounce the trial and to demand Sayedee be freed. Supporters of Sayedee clashed with police in Sirajganj district while protesting against the verdict, leaving two people dead, the private television channel Ekattor TV reported. Police were not immediately available to comment on the reported deaths. Sayedee is the third defendant to be convicted of crimes against humanity since Sheikh Hasina’s government initiated the tribunal in 2010.
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A post from February reported on violent demonstrations held by supporters of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JEI) in Bangladesh protesting the war crimes conviction of party’s fourth most senior official. A post from last October reported that the war crimes tribunal in Bangladesh was planning to charge U.K. JEI leader Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin with 18 counts of murder and will be facing the death penalty in Bangladesh. A post from April initially reported on the investigation and charges against Mr. Mueen-Uddin.
The JEI was founded in 1941 and had it’s origins in the thoughts of Maulana Sayyid Abul A’la Maududi (1903-79), the most important Islamist intellectual in the history of Southeast Asia. Maududi was also a major influence on the global Muslim Brotherhood with whom the JEI has long enjoyed close relations. In the United States, the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) is generally considered to represent the JEI.