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Bangladesh police arrest top Jamaat-e-Islami official for war crimes

Police in Bangladesh arrested a top member of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) [official website; GlobalSecurity backgrounder] on Wednesday after a war crimes court ordered his arrest hours earlier. The International Crimes Tribunal Bangladesh (ICTB) [Facebook page] issued a warrant for the arrest of ATM Azharul Islam and ordered police to bring him before the court within 24 hours. Islam faces charges of war crimes [ANI report] associated with his conduct during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War [GlobalSecurity backgrounder]. Prosecutors said on Wednesday that Islam will face charges for alleged crimes committed by members of a pro-Pakistan militia he led during the conflict. The ICTB was established in 2010 [JURIST report] to handle war crimes charges stemming from the Bangladesh's war for independence.

The ICTB has continued to arrest and indict individuals accused of war crimes in connection to the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War. Last month the ICTB indicted Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed, secretary general of the JI on seven counts of crimes against humanity [JURIST report] he allegedly committed during the war. Bangladesh police arrested [JURIST report] Mir Kashem Ali for allegedly being an auxiliary to the Pakistani armed forces and running a torture facility at the Dalim Hotel during the war. The ICTB issued earlier that day an arrest warrant against the chairman of Diganta Media Corporation and senior leader of the JI. He was the eighth high-profile leader who has been indicted for the crimes committed during the war. A week earlier, the ICTB indicted [JURIST report] former Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) leader Abdul Alim on 17 counts of crimes against humanity, Bangladesh's national news agency reported. In May, the ICTB indicted [JURIST report] Matiur Rahman Nizami, the chief of the JI, and Abdul Quader Molla, Nizami's deputy, for alleged human rights atrocities committed during the war. During the same month, Ghulam Azam, former head of the JI, was indicted [JURIST report] by the ICTB for similar charges.

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