Bangladesh opposition leader to be arrested for war crimes

Besides the two, five senior leaders of the Jamaat-e-Islami are in jail.

Dhaka: Bangladesh`s International Crimes Tribunal on Sunday ordered the arrest of a former minister who, according to a charge-sheet, was involved in the killing of over 10,000 civilians during the 1971 freedom movement.

Abdul Alim, a minister in the government of slain president Ziaur Rahman, has been charged with involvement in the killing of over 10,000 people with assistance from an Islamist militia - called Razzakars - and Pakistani forces, according to The Daily Star.

Alim will join senior opposition leader Salahuddin Qauder Chowdhury who was accused of similar offences and is now in jail. Both belong to main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).

Besides the two, five senior leaders of the Jamaat-e-Islami, the country`s largest Islamist party, are in jail on charges of targeting unarmed civilians during the freedom movement.

They were charged with leading or organising attacks by the Pakistani Army and Islamist militias Al Shams, Al Bard and the Razzakars.

The attacks have been dubbed "war crimes". Over three million people died during the nine-month-long freedom movement.

The tribunal, a panel of three judges, adjourned till April 05 the hearing on a petition by prosecutors seeking permission to interrogate detained Jamaat-e-Islami chief Matiur Rahman Nizami in connection with the war crimes case.