A special tribunal in Bangladesh has sentenced a senior Islamist party leader to death for leading a militia that committed mass killings and rape during the country's 1971 independence war against Pakistan.

Judge M. Enayetur Rahim found A.T.M. Azharul Islam, assistant secretary general of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, guilty of five out of six charges Tuesday, including killing unarmed civilians.

Islam was the leader of a militia group in the country's northern region that collaborated with Pakistan's military in confronting fighters who fought for Bangladesh's independence. He is the eighth convicted leader from Jamaat-e-Islami, which openly campaigned against independence and worked as the core political force in favor of West Pakistan, now Pakistan.

Bangladesh blames Pakistani soldiers and local collaborators for the deaths of 3 million people during the nine-month war.