A special war crimes tribunal has sentenced a man to death on charges that he committed rape and murder in 1971 during Banglasdesh's war for independence from Pakistan.

The tribunal's head judge, Obaidul Hassan, issued the order Thursday against Forkan Mollick.

The man worked at a local office of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, Bangladesh's largest Islamist party, which had organized people to fight against the independence struggle.

After Thursday's verdict, Mollick shouted from inside a prison van that he was innocent as police took him away.

Bangladesh says Pakistani soldiers, aided by local collaborators, killed 3 million people and raped 200,000 women during the war in then East Pakistan, now Bangladesh.

The defense plans to appeal the verdict.