World

Bangladesh on high alert ahead of verdict for Islamist party chief on war crimes charges

  • Jamaat-e-Islami chief Motiur Rahman Nizami sits inside a police van after he was sentenced to death for his role in the deaths of thousands of people during the nation's independence war against Pakistan in 1971, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014. Nizami, a former Cabinet minister, was tried on 16 charges, including genocide, murder, torture, rape and destruction of property. Bangladesh says Pakistani soldiers, aided by local collaborators, killed 3 million people, raped 200,000 women and forced about 10 million people to take shelter in refugee camps across the border in neighboring India during the nine-month war. (AP Photo/Tanvir Ahammed)

    Jamaat-e-Islami chief Motiur Rahman Nizami sits inside a police van after he was sentenced to death for his role in the deaths of thousands of people during the nation's independence war against Pakistan in 1971, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014. Nizami, a former Cabinet minister, was tried on 16 charges, including genocide, murder, torture, rape and destruction of property. Bangladesh says Pakistani soldiers, aided by local collaborators, killed 3 million people, raped 200,000 women and forced about 10 million people to take shelter in refugee camps across the border in neighboring India during the nine-month war. (AP Photo/Tanvir Ahammed)  (The Associated Press)

  • Bangladeshi activists shout slogans against war criminals during a rally outside a special war crimes tribunal ahead of pronouncement of verdict for for Jamaat-e-Islami chief Motiur Rahman Nizami in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014. The special tribunal in Bangladesh on Wednesday sentenced the leader of the country's largest Islamist party to death for his role in the deaths of thousands of people during the nation's independence war against Pakistan in 1971. Posters seen contain unrelated political messages. (AP Photo/A.M. Ahad)

    Bangladeshi activists shout slogans against war criminals during a rally outside a special war crimes tribunal ahead of pronouncement of verdict for for Jamaat-e-Islami chief Motiur Rahman Nizami in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014. The special tribunal in Bangladesh on Wednesday sentenced the leader of the country's largest Islamist party to death for his role in the deaths of thousands of people during the nation's independence war against Pakistan in 1971. Posters seen contain unrelated political messages. (AP Photo/A.M. Ahad)  (The Associated Press)

  • A man walks past Bangladeshi police officers sitting outside a special war crimes tribunal ahead of a verdict to be pronounced for Jamaat-e-Islami chief Motiur Rahman Nizami, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014. The special tribunal in Bangladesh on Wednesday sentenced the leader of the country's largest Islamist party to death for his role in the deaths of thousands of people during the nation's independence war against Pakistan in 1971. Posters seen contain unrelated political messages. (AP Photo/A.M. Ahad)

    A man walks past Bangladeshi police officers sitting outside a special war crimes tribunal ahead of a verdict to be pronounced for Jamaat-e-Islami chief Motiur Rahman Nizami, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014. The special tribunal in Bangladesh on Wednesday sentenced the leader of the country's largest Islamist party to death for his role in the deaths of thousands of people during the nation's independence war against Pakistan in 1971. Posters seen contain unrelated political messages. (AP Photo/A.M. Ahad)  (The Associated Press)

Bangladesh has boosted security in the capital hours before a special tribunal is to deliver a verdict against the top leader of an Islamist party on war crimes charges.

The charges facing Motiur Rahman Nizami, chief of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, stem from the nation's independence war against Pakistan in 1971.

The prosecution says Nizami acted as the supreme commander of a militia group that carried out a systematic plan to torture and execute pro-liberation supporters during the war.

The war is still an emotionally charged issue in Bangladesh and previous verdicts by the tribunal have sparked street violence. Ahead of Wednesday's verdict, police and paramilitary units were patrolling the capital.

Bangladesh says Pakistani soldiers, aided by local collaborators, killed 3 million people and raped 200,000 women during the nine-month war.