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Violence breaks out after execution of Bangladesh Islamist leader Mollah

Violence has broken out in Bangladesh after an Islamist leader was hanged for war crimes. While his supporters protested, others in the country celebrated his execution.

At least three people are reported to have been killed on Friday after supporters of Islamist leader Abdul Quader Mollah set fire to homes of members of the ruling Awami League party, looted shops and even set off crude bombs in several parts of the country. More than 100 vehicles were also torched.

However, the situation in the capital Dhaka, where many people rejoiced at the news of the execution, was reported to be calm.

Mollah, a leader of the Islamist opposition party Jamaat-e-Islami,

was hanged at the Dhaka Central Jail late on Thursday

for war crimes committed during Bangladesh's 1971 war of independence from Pakistan.

The court had stopped his planned execution at the last minute

on Tuesday night, but on Thursday rejected his final appeal.

Mollah, who was convicted for killing a student and a family of 11 and helping Pakistani troops kill 369 other people during the conflict, was buried a few hours after his execution in his home village in the southern district of Faridpur.

Special tribunal

He was one of several members of Jamaat-e-Islami to be put on trial by the International Crimes Tribunal and ordered executed by the court, which was established by Prime Minister Sheik Hasina in 2010 to bring justice to the victims of the war of independence.

Jamaat-e-Islami has alleged that the trials were politically motivated. The Islamist party was a key partner in the former government of Khaleda Zila, who has been a longtime rival of Prime Minister Hasina.

Human rights groups at home and abroad have questioned whether the tribunal meets international standards of law.

Rise in political tensions

Mollah's execution could raise political tensions even further in Bangladesh, where there has been almost daily unrest since the prime minister announced

parliamentary elections to be held on January 5.

The opposition Bangladesh National Party has said it would not take part in the polls unless Hasina steps down and makes way for a caretaker government.

Senior members of the Awami League and the BNP were expected to meet later in the day to seek a way out of the political deadlock.

pfd/tj (Reuters, AP, dpa)

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