Bangladesh Islamist leader Motiur Rahman Nizami to hang

Motiur Rahman Nizami (C), a leader of Bangladesh Jamaat-E-Islami, arrives at a court before a verdict of an arms smuggling case in Chittagong January 30, 2014. Motiur Rahman Nizami arrives at court in Chittagong to hear the verdict

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The head of Bangladesh's main Islamist party, Motiur Rahman Nizami, has been sentenced to death for arms smuggling, prompting fears of fresh unrest.

The Jamaat-e-Islami president was found guilty along with 13 others of trafficking arms to separatists in the neighbouring Indian state of Assam.

He was industry minister in 2004 when the arms cache was discovered in the southern port of Chittagong.

He faces separate charges of war crimes dating back to independence in 1971.

A verdict is awaited in that trial, and if convicted he could also be sentenced to death in that case.

A number of his party colleagues have already been found guilty, and some sentenced to die, for war crimes.

Jamaat supporters have led protests against the trials, in which scores of people have been killed.

The party says the trial process is politically motivated. Human rights groups say it does not conform to international standards.

The Jamaat president has said he will appeal against the arms smuggling sentence.

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