DHAKA, Bangladesh — Hundreds of thousands of people rallied in Bangladesh’s capital on Friday to demand executions of people convicted of war crimes in the nation’s independence war in 1971.

The protesters in Dhaka urged Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to review a verdict sentencing a senior leader of Bangladesh’s largest Islamic party, Jamaat-e-Islami, to life in prison for killings and other crimes.

The protesters said the life term was not enough since a tribunal had found Abdul Quader Mollah guilty of five charges, including playing a role in the killing of 381 unarmed civilians.

The government will appeal the sentence. A lawyer said the defense would also appeal, seeking an acquittal for Mollah, whose verdict is the second after Hasina came to power through a 2008 election and formed a tribunal to try those suspected of war crimes.


The life sentence comes after a former party member was sentenced to death last month.

The exact number of protesters was difficult to know, but streets near Dhaka University were filled with fighters from 1971, students, political activists, teachers, and people from other walks of life. Some organizers put the number at up to 200,000.