Bangladesh changes rules to detain 1971 war criminals

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

DHAKA - A tribunal in Bangladesh preparing to try former Islamist militants on the charge of killing unarmed civilians during the 1971 freedom movement has amended rules to facilitate their detention.

The International Crimes Tribunal Monday amended its rules of procedure to stipulate that anyone being investigated for “crimes against humanity” will be considered an accused.

Earlier, a person was considered an accused only if formal charges against him were submitted to the tribunal.

The change facilitates the detention of seven Islamists belonging to various parties, the Daily Star said Tuesday.

Coming into the tribunal’s net will be Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, a lawmaker of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) who is considered close to party chief and former prime minister Khaleda Zia.

Also in the net will be Abdul Alim, who was a minister under Zia, and BNP leader Abul Kalam Azad.

Among others targeted by the tribunal are former Jamaat-e-Islami chief Golam Azam, Jamaat leader Mir Kashem Ali and former Jamaat lawmaker Abdus Sobhan, and Abdul Hannan of the Jatiya Party, a constituent of the ruling alliance.

The Jamaat’s chief Motiur Rahman Nizami, secretary eneral Ali Ahsan Muhammad Mojahid, assistant secretaries general Muhammad Kamaruzzaman and Abdul Quader Molla have already been put behind bars to face charges of “genocide and crimes against humanity”.

The prosecutors working for the tribunal claimed Sep 20 that they have documents and evidence against 12 people.

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