Bangladesh indicts Islamic leaders for war crimes
THE chief of Bangladesh’s largest Islamic party and one of his deputies were indicted on Monday for alleged crimes against humanity committed during the 1971 independence war against Pakistan.
A special tribunal set up by the government to deal with charges of crimes against humanity indicted Matiur Rahman Nizami, the chief of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, on 16 charges, including genocide and murder.
Another tribunal indicted Abdul Quader Molla, a deputy of Nizami, for his alleged involvement in crimes against humanity.
Nizami’s trial will begin on July 1, while Molla’s starts on June 20. If convicted, they could face the death penalty.
Bangladesh‚ with help from India‚ won independence from Pakistan in 1971 after a nine-month war.
Bangladesh says Pakistani soldiers, aided by local collaborators, killed some 3 million people, raped about 200,000 women and forced millions to flee their homes during the war.
Jamaat-e-Islami openly campaigned against breaking away from Pakistan during the war, and several party leaders now stand accused of collaborating with the Pakistani army in committing atrocities.
Nizami and Molla, who have been in jail since last year, are among five top Jamaat-e-Islami leaders and one former party chief accused of crimes against humanity.
The former party chief, Ghulam Azam, also is in jail awaiting his trial, which begins on June 5. Two other people, including a current member of Parliament, face similar charges