Bangladesh’s war crimes tribunal has sentenced Islamist leader Delwar Hossain Sayeedi to death for crimes committed during the country’s 1971 war of independence.
Arrested in June 2010, he was found guilty of mass murder, rape and other charges during the 1971 conflict.
A leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, he is the most senior figure so far to be sentenced by the tribunal.
The party rejects the court and has been staging a strike in protest.
Critics of the tribunal have said that the charges against Sayeedi and others are politically motivated.
On Wednesday, thousands of people staged a protest in the capital, demanding that Mr Sayeedi be given the death sentence.
The verdict is the third issued by the controversial tribunal, which is trying a total of nine Jamaat leaders and two members of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party.
The war crimes trials have sparked violent clashes in Dhaka in recent weeks which have left a number of people dead.
Mr Sayeedi was accused of working with the Al-Badr group during the independence struggle and carrying out numerous atrocities, including forcibly converting Hindus to Islam.
His critics say that during the war he formed a small group to loot and seize the property of Bengali Hindus and those who supported independence.
He denied all 19 charges against him, which also included crimes against humanity and genocide.
Earlier this month another Jamaat leader, Abdul Kader Mullah, was sentenced to life for crimes against humanity. Huge crowds have been demanding he be executed.
And in January, former party leader Abul Kalam Azad was found guilty in absentia of eight charges of crimes against humanity and sentenced to death.
The special court was set up in 2010 by the current Bangladeshi government to deal with those accused of collaborating with Pakistani forces who attempted to stop East Pakistan (as Bangladesh was then) from becoming an independent country.
But human rights groups have said the tribunal falls short of international standards. Jamaat and the BNP accuse the current government of pursuing a political vendetta.
Official estimates say more than three million people were killed in the war.