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GULF NEWS (UAE), THE INDEPENDENT (BANGLADESH), BBC (UK), AP, AFP

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DHAKA – On Tuesday, a Bangladesh war crimes tribunal sentenced Abdul Quader Molla, a leader of the country’s main Islamic party, to a life sentence for crimes against humanity during the independence war against Pakistan in 1971.

In anticipation of the verdict, violent riots broke out around the country on Monday night.

Abdul Quader Molla and five other fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami party (JI) leaders have been on trial before Dhaka's International Crimes Tribunal, reports the AP. They have been accused of committing atrocities during the nine-month war against Pakistan in 1971.

Abdul Quader Molla "deserved a death sentence because of the gravity of the crimes. But the court gave him life imprisonment," said Attorney General Mahbubey Alam, adding that Molla was found guilty of five out of six charges, including mass murder.

Last month, another JI leader, fugitive Abul Kalam Azad was sentenced in absentia to the death penalty.

The trials have been branded “show trials” and international rights groups have questioned the proceedings, reports the AFP.

Tuesday’s verdict came as JI enforced a nationwide strike and demanded the abolishment of the tribunals and called for the release of their detained leaders reports Dhaka daily, The Independent.

According to the Gulf News, riots broke out on Monday night in anticipation of the verdict. Suspected JI activists set a bus on fire, burning a passenger to death and injuring four others.

Police said they had clashed with protesters in the capital, as well as in several other cities across the country after the verdict says the AFP. In northwestern Rajshahi, police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at almost 500 Jamaat-e-Islami supporters, who threw at least a dozen homemade firebombs.

Official estimates, writes the BBC, say that more than three million people were killed in the war against Pakistan in 1971. The trials have sparked protests from supporters of the party, who accuse the sitting government of pursuing a political vendetta.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

When Did Putin "Turn" Evil? That's Exactly The Wrong Question

Look back over the past two decades, and you'll see Vladimir Putin has always been the man revealed by the Ukraine invasion, an evil and sinister dictator. The Russian leader just managed to mask it, especially because so many chose to see him as a typically corrupt and greedy strongman who could be bribed or reasoned with.

Putin arrives for a ceremony to accept credentials from 24 foreign ambassadors at the Grand Kremlin Palace on Sept. 20.

Sergiy Gromenko*

-OpEd-

KYIV — The world knows that Vladimir Putin has power, money and mistresses. So why, ask some, wasn't that enough for him? Why did he have to go start another war?

At its heart, this is the wrong question to ask. For Putin, military expansion is not an adrenaline rush to feed into his existing life of luxury. On the contrary, the shedding of blood for the sake of holding power is his modus operandi, while the fruits of greed and corruption like the Putin Palace in Gelendzhik are more like a welcome bonus.

In the last year, we have kept hearing rhetorical questions like “why did Putin start this war at all, didn't he have enough of his own land?” or “he already has Gelendzhik to enjoy, why fight?” This line of thinking has resurfaced after missile strikes on Ukrainian power grids and dams, which was regarded by many as a simple demonstration of terrorism. Such acts are a manifestation of weakness, some ask, so is Putin ready to show himself weak?

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However, you will not arrive at the correct answer if the questions themselves are asked incorrectly. For decades, analysts in Russia, Ukraine, and the West have been under an illusion about the nature of the Russian president's personal dictatorship.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

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