Dhaka: Death sentence of top Islamist leader Delwar Hossain Sayeedi was on Wednesday commuted to life imprisonment by Bangladesh Supreme Court, however the verdict does not seem to satisfy his supporters as his party Jamaat-e-Islami is now demanding him to be released immediately.
Announcing the verdict without any explanation, Chief Justice Muzammel Hossain of Bangladesh Supreme Court said that Sayeedi “must remain in the prison for the rest of his natural life”, reports said.
Calling Sayeedi a 'torturer of women', Attorney General Mahbubey Alam said that he was dissatisfied with the verdict and had expected that the apex court would uphold the verdict announced by international crimes tribunal in February last year.
"It has been proved now that Sayedee has forced people to convert religion and he was involved in raping and torturing women during the Liberation War in 1971," he was quoted as saying.
Soon after the verdict, Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami party demanded Sayeedi be released immediately, and called for 48 hour nationwide strike for Thursday and Sunday, the party wrote on its Twitter and Facebook accounts.
Allama Delwar Hossain Sayedee’s verdict: Jamaat calls 48 hour nationwide strike for Thursday and Sunday demanding... http://t.co/q8vu7XTqzg
— Jamaat-e-Islami (@BJI_Official) September 17, 2014
Sayeedi was convicted last year in February by International Crimes Tribunal that sentenced him to death, convicting him for war crimes committed during the nine-month 1971 war of independence against Pakistan.
Sayeedi, the most senior JI leader to be convicted then, was charged on eight counts including guilty of charges including mass murder, torture, forcefully converting Hindus to Islam and even rape.
His conviction triggered fierce protests and clashes that killed dozens across the country.
Some three million were killed and millions more were forced to escape to India in the 1971 war of independence after Bangladesh split from Pakistan.
About a dozen Islamist leaders have been convicted of war crimes by the tribunal which is opposed by the Islamists as a tool by the Sheikh Hasin government to settle scores against the opposition. While PM Sheikh Hasina considers it as a way to bring to task the perpetrators of atrocities in 1971 war that left scores dead.