The Bangladesh International Crimes Tribunal sentenced an Islamic cleric named as Abul Kalam Azad to death for crimes against humanity for his involvement during Bangladesh’s 1971 independence war.
Reports say Abul Kalam Azad, also known as Bachchu Razakar, is a member of the Jamaat-e-Islami party. He was tried in absentia after he fled to Pakistan in April 2012 after being charged.
In November, Azad was also indicted on eight charges of crimes against humanity.
In her press statment in Washington DC today, State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland said the United States notes the conviction and death sentence announced Monday by Bangladesh’s International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) following the trial in absentia of Abul Kalam Azad for crimes against humanity committed during Bangladesh’s 1971 Liberation War.
“The United States supports bringing to justice those who commit such crimes.” – Ms. Nuland
However, Ms. Nuland underlines that the US believes any trials must be free, fair, and transparent, and in accordance with domestic standards and international standards Bangladesh has agreed to uphold through its ratification of international agreements.
Bangladesh is addressing the legacy of atrocities committed during the Liberation War.
As the US and Bangladesh await further verdicts by the Bangladesh International Crimes Tribunal, the United States has urged the Government of Bangladesh to adhere to the due process standards that are part of its treaty obligations, and to fully respect the rule of law.
Reports say Jamaat-e-Islami campaigned in 1971 against Bangladesh’s war of separation from Pakistan. The organization is accused of taking part in atrocities committed by Pakistani troops.
During the nine-month war, Pakistani troops and local collaborators reportedly killed three million people and raped about 200,000 women.