Monday, January 09, 2012

Bangladesh war crimes court ask top Islamist leader to appear or face arrest



SALEEM SAMAD

THE INTERNATIONAL Crimes Tribunal (ICT) on Monday asked Islamist Jamaat-e-Islami party former chief Golam Azam to appear before the court on January 11 or face arrest.

Justice Nizamul Haque Nasim issued an order after accepting formal charges against Azam who is blamed for crime against humanity during the bloody war of independence of Bangladesh in 1971.

The tribunal judge warned failure to present the suspect, who was formerly chief of Islamist party on the specific date would issue warrant of arrest.

The prosecution submitted formal charges accusing Azam for his involvement on 62 counts including waging war against the people of Bangladesh. He has also been charged for being the henchman of the marauding Pakistan army for recruiting Muslim youths to form the death squad, who kidnapped and executed hundreds pro-independence professionals and intellectuals.

Bangladesh, formerly eastern province of Pakistan remained 2,000 miles away in between India. The nation revolted against Islamic Pakistan against refusal of political and civil liberties and established a secular country.

Defense counsel Abdur Razzaq pleased that the case against Golam Azam be dismissed. The tribunal ruled that the petition was not tenable since there was no provision of hearing the defense or the prosecution before charges was taken into cognizance.

Meanwhile, the prosecution indicted six other suspects who are Sunni Muslims for crime against humanity perpetrated during the 1971 war against Pakistan.

Saleem Samad, an Ashoka Fellow is an award winning investigative journalist based in Bangladesh. He specializes on Islamic terrorism, forced migration, good governance and elective democracy. He has recently returned from exile from Canada after return of democracy. He could be reached at saleemsamad@hotmail.com