Bangladesh indicts 2 major 1971 war crime suspects

Dhaka: Bangladesh today indicted chief of fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami Matiur Rahman Nizami and his close aide Abdul Quader Mollah for "crimes against humanity" during the country`s Liberation War in 1971.

"This tribunal hereby charges you (Nizami) on 16 counts of crimes against humanity," pronounced chairman of the three-member panel of International Crimes Tribunal (ICT)-1 Justice Nizamul Haque as the incumbent Jamaat chief was produced at the crowded courtroom.

Mollah, the assistant secretary general of Jamaat, was indicted by the second three-judge panel of ICT-2 where its chairman Justice A T M Fazle Kabir said charges against him was framed on six counts.

The two Jamaat leaders` indictment came two years after their arrest and with this war crime charges were framed by the special tribunals against five high-profile suspects.

The others who were indicted earlier are former Jamaat chief Ghulam Azam and party leaders Delwar Hossain Sayeedi and main opposition BNP`s lawmaker Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury. Both the leaders were charged for masterminding or stewarding genocide, mass murders, rapes, arson and inciting others to stage war crimes.

While indicting Nizami, the tribunal asked him if he was guilty or not as the prosecution charged him for carrying out the crimes in capacity as the chief of the notorious Al-Badr auxiliary forces and the student wing of the then Islami Chhatra Sangha as an accomplice of Jamaat chief of East Pakistan wing Ghulam Azam at that time.

"Not guilty," Nizami said in reply after a long statement when he said the then Pakistan Peoples Party leader Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was entirely responsible for the genocide in 1971.