Dhaka: Bangladesh Bar Council (BBC) on Saturday
rejected a plea from detained leaders of the country`s largest
Islamist party to be represented by foreign lawyers at the
trial for alleged "war crimes" committed during the 1971
The security forces have arrested some of the top
leaders of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), who have been accused of
The (bar) council has rejected the plea as the BBC
rules do not allow foreign lawyers to practice in Bangladesh
courts," Baset Majumdar, the vice president of the statutory
regulatory body for legal practitioners, told reporters.
Jamaat, an ally of main opposition Bangladesh
Nationalist Party (BNP) and several other rightwing groups are
accused of siding with the then Pakistani junta in 1971.
Five of Jamaat`s top leaders, including its chief
Motiur Rahman Nizami and Secretary General Ali Ahsan Mohammad
Mojahid and Delwar Hossain Sayeedi have been detained.
Nizami and Mojahid led the so-called Al-Badr forces,
which is widely believed to have been involved in genocide,
rape and murder of frontline intellectuals.
Majumdar said the council in a meeting rejected the
proposals placed on behalf of the detained Jamaat leaders.
Earlier reports had said the Jamaat sought to appoint
foreign lawyers, including one who was the counsel of
Yugoslavia`s former President Slobodan Milosevic.
Jamaat leaders earlier said three British lawyers were
currently "giving us advice but we have plans to appoint them
as defence counsels" after their indictment in the special
The tribunal is expected to indict Sayeedi next month
as charges against him was already finalised while prosecutors
said the process was underway to prepare the charges against
the other Jamaat leaders.
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`.