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`Bangladeshi Islamist leader admits role in 1971 war genocide`

Last Updated: Thursday, May 5, 2011 - 23:04

Dhaka: Motiur Rahman Nizami, the detained
chief of Bangladesh`s largest Islamist party, on Thursday admitted
his role in forming the "Razakar" and other forces accused of
"genocide" during the country`s 1971 `Liberation War`.

"I was compelled to do it to save my life as the
Pakistani army would have killed me otherwise,? Nizami, the
chief of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), was quoted as saying by a
official familiar with the investigation process into crimes
against humanity during Bangladesh`s independence struggle.

Sanaul Haquem, the Coordinator of the special
investigation agency, told PTI that Nizami admitted atrocities
carried out by the Pakistani troops was actually "genocide".

Jamaat-e-Islami, a crucial ally of opposition
Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and several other rightwing
groups have been accused of helping the Pakistani military
during the war.

On March 25, 2010, the ruling Awami League government
set up a special tribunal for the trial of "war criminals"
accused of genocide and those who sided with the Pakistani
military during the `Liberation War`.

The high-profile war crime suspect was quizzed under
an International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) order as part of the
investigations into the alleged crimes committed by Nizami.

However, investigators said they would seek another
order from the tribunal to quiz Nizami for at least one more
day as he tried to conceal information.

The investigators said Nizami was shown several
photographs indicating his involvement in the 1971 crimes.

Nizami is one of the seven high-profile war crime
suspects in jail to face charges of "crimes against
humanity?. Nizami is among five top leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami
who are detained for interrogation.

Earlier reports said that three British lawyers,
including one who defended former Yugoslav president Slobodan
Milosevic, were expected to defend five of the prime suspects.

Bangladesh last year constituted a high-powered
three-member ICT to punish those accused of having committed
war crimes.

Nizami led the so-called Al-Badr forces, which is
widely believed to have been involved in genocide, rape and
murder during the period.


First Published: Thursday, May 5, 2011 - 23:04
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