New Delhi, January 11 Prof Ghulam Azam, about 90-year old veteran ideologue of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, was arrested today on charges of war crimes during the 1971 struggle for the Independence of Bangladesh. According to State Prosecutor Syed Haider Ali, he had been arrested after the International Crimes Tribunal rejected his (anticipatory) bail petition and he was the mastermind of all crimes against humanity during 1971, said AFP.
Prof Azam is the sixth and the most high profile Islamist to have been arrested since the Awami League government headed by Sheikh Mujib’s daughter Sheikh Hasina set up the tribunal in 2010 to try suspects. Two senior members from the main opposition party are also facing war crime charges.
Both parties have dismissed the court as a government “show trial” while New York-based Human Rights Watch has said legal procedures used by the tribunal fall short of international standards. Prof Azam’s lawyer slammed the arrest which came after he was called to the tribunal. “We don’t know yet the charges against him, the order was not correct.,” he said.
Interestingly, Prof Ghulam Azam, who was chief of East Pakistan Jamaat-e-Islami before the liberation of Banglaesh, had once been addressed by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as “a language movement soldier to Hussain Shahid Suhrawardi at Rangpur in meeting of Jukto Front”.