World

Bangladesh ex-Islamist leader convicted of war crimes dies of heart attack in hospital

  • FILE - In this Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012 file photo, former chief of Bangladesh's largest Islamic party Jamaat-e-Islami, Ghulam Azam, waves from inside a car on his way to a court in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Azam, 91, died late Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014 after life support was removed at the Bangabandhu Sehikh Mujib Medical University in the capital, Dhaka, said hospital spokesman Abdul Majid Bhuiyan. (AP Photo/Shawkat Khan)

    FILE - In this Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012 file photo, former chief of Bangladesh's largest Islamic party Jamaat-e-Islami, Ghulam Azam, waves from inside a car on his way to a court in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Azam, 91, died late Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014 after life support was removed at the Bangabandhu Sehikh Mujib Medical University in the capital, Dhaka, said hospital spokesman Abdul Majid Bhuiyan. (AP Photo/Shawkat Khan)  (The Associated Press)

  • Supporters pray as they stand outside an ambulance carrying the body of Bangladesh’s Islamic party Jamaat-e-Islami’s former chief Ghulam Azam at his home in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Friday, Oct. 24, 2014. Azam, 91, whose imprisonment on war crimes charges triggered violent protests last year, died Thursday of a heart attack in a prison cell of a government hospital. (AP Photo/A.M. Ahad)

    Supporters pray as they stand outside an ambulance carrying the body of Bangladesh’s Islamic party Jamaat-e-Islami’s former chief Ghulam Azam at his home in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Friday, Oct. 24, 2014. Azam, 91, whose imprisonment on war crimes charges triggered violent protests last year, died Thursday of a heart attack in a prison cell of a government hospital. (AP Photo/A.M. Ahad)  (The Associated Press)

  • A woman watches the body of her relative and Bangladesh’s Islamic party Jamaat-e-Islami’s former leader Ghulam Azam in an ambulance outside his home in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Friday, Oct. 24, 2014. Azam, 91, whose imprisonment on war crimes charges triggered violent protests last year, died late Thursday of a heart attack in a prison cell of a government hospital. (AP Photo/A.M. Ahad)

    A woman watches the body of her relative and Bangladesh’s Islamic party Jamaat-e-Islami’s former leader Ghulam Azam in an ambulance outside his home in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Friday, Oct. 24, 2014. Azam, 91, whose imprisonment on war crimes charges triggered violent protests last year, died late Thursday of a heart attack in a prison cell of a government hospital. (AP Photo/A.M. Ahad)  (The Associated Press)

A former Bangladeshi Islamist party leader who was convicted of war crimes involving his country's 1971 independence war has died of a heart attack in a prison cell of a government hospital.

The 91-year-old Ghulam Azam died late Thursday after life support was removed at the Bangabandhu Sehikh Mujib Medical University in the capital, Dhaka.

A special tribunal last year sentenced Azam, a former chief of Jamaat-e-Islami party, to 90 years in jail on 61 charges of war crimes during Bangladesh war of independence from Pakistan.

Bangladesh accuses the Pakistani army and local collaborators for the deaths of 3 million people.

Azam led the party until 2000, and was still considered to be its spiritual leader. Jamaat-e-Islami claims his trial was politically motivated, which authorities deny.