DHAKA  - Clashes erupted in Bangladesh Sunday between police and supporters of the country's biggest Islamic party ahead of a court verdict against a top Islamist for allegedly masterminding atrocities during the 1971 war.

Some 400 Jamaat-e-Islami activists burnt a police van and hurled crude bombs in the capital Dhaka, police said, to protest what they say are false charges against Ghulam Azam, 90, who could face the death penalty if convicted by the war crimes court on Monday.

Previous sentences by the controversial court sparked the country's worst political violence since independence.

A police officer was seriously injured in the latest clashes after being hit by a rock, assistant police commissioner Saifur Rahman told AFP.

Azam was the head of the Jamaat-e-Islami party during the war in which the government says millions were killed.

The International Crimes Tribunal -- set up by the secular government in 2010 -- will deliver its verdict against Azam on Monday, prosecutor Sultan Mahmud told AFP.

Prosecutors have sought the death penalty for Azam, comparing him to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. They describe him as a "lighthouse" who guided all other war criminals and the "architect" of the militias which ‘committed’ many of the 1971 atrocities.

Jamaat, the country's largest Islamic party and a key member of the opposition, has called a nationwide strike on Monday to protest the verdict, a statement posted at the party's website said.