Bangladeshi prosecutors have filed war crime charges against an Islamic leader, accusing him of genocide, murder and rape during the country’s 1971 liberation struggle, officials said Tuesday.
Delwar Hossain Sayedee, a senior official of Bangladesh’s largest Islamic party, has been also accused of “crimes against humanity, looting, arson and forcible conversion to Islam”, said chief prosecutor Ghulam Arif Tipoo.
“We have submitted the charges against Sayedee to the International Crimes Tribunal. The investigators have completed their job and we have found compelling evidences of war crimes,” Tipoo said.
The tribunal, a Bangladeshi special court created last year to try people suspected of atrocities during the independence campaign from Pakistan, will hold a hearing on Thursday to access the charges, he said.
The government has said some three million people were killed during the nine-month long struggle. Independent researchers put the figure much less.
A citizens’ group that has investigated the conflict has identified 1,775 people, including Pakistani generals and members of local religious groups, as complicit in the atrocities.
Sayedee is detained along with other war crime suspects from his Jamaat-e-Islami party and from the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).
The BNP and Jamaat have dismissed the tribunal as a government “show trial”.
The New York-based rights group Human Rights Watch said Tuesday the rules being used by the tribunal to prosecute war crime suspects fall short of international standards.