DHAKA, Bangladesh — The death toll from violent clashes between protesters and security forces in Bangladesh reached at least 44 on Friday, one day after a special war crimes tribunal handed down a death sentence to an Islamist leader for crimes against humanity committed 42 years ago, during the country’s 1971 war of independence from Pakistan.
The verdict against Delawar Hossain Sayedee, a leader of Jamaat-e-Islami, an Islamist party, resonated across the country. It was celebrated by the hundreds of thousands of young protesters who have taken to the streets in recent weeks to condemn Jamaat and demand justice in the war crimes cases against other party leaders.
“This verdict is a victory for the people,’’ declared Imran H. Sarkar, a blogger and an organizer of the protests, during a rally Thursday afternoon.
But followers of Jamaat reacted with fury, saying the case brought against Sayedee and others was politically motivated and tainted.