Clashes in Bangladesh ahead of Azam war crimes verdict
Police in Bangladesh have clashed with supporters of the country’s Jamaat-e-Islami party ahead of the verdict in the trial of an Islamist leader charged with war crimes.
Ghulam Azam, 91, is accused of orchestrating atrocities during the country’s 1971 war of independence.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. His supporters say the charges are politically motivated.
Previous verdicts against Islamist leaders have led to violent protests.
This would be the fifth sentence passed on current and former leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami, the country’s the main Islamist party, by a controversial special tribunal.
The International Crimes Tribunal in Bangladesh was set up by the current Awami League-led government in 2010 to try alleged collaborators of the Pakistani army during Bangladesh’s war of independence.
Three million people are believed to have died in the conflict.
Prosecutors say Mr Azam should receive the death penalty for his role in setting up violent militia groups that killed and raped thousands of people.
He is accused of planning, conspiracy, incitement, complicity and murder in more than 60 counts of crimes against humanity.
But his defence lawyers say the charges are based only on newspaper reports of Mr Azam’s speeches at the time, and none have been proved.
Jamaat has called for a general strike in protest.
Mr Azam was the party’s leader from 1969 until 2000 and is seen by many as its spiritual leader.
Described by his party colleagues as a writer and Islamic thinker, Mr Azan was strongly opposed Bangladesh’s independence from Pakistan, arguing at the time that it would divide the Muslim community.
More than 100 people have been killed since January in political violence sparked by verdicts handed down by the International Crimes Tribunal.
Human rights groups have said the tribunal falls short of international standards.
will follow this closely..looks like a catalyst for trouble..
“Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.”