Bangladesh war crimes convict dies in prison

A former Bangladeshi Islamist party leader, who was imprisoned for war crimes last year, died on Oct. 23 of a heart attack in a prison cell of a government hospital. Ghulam Azam was 91 when his life support was removed at the Bangabandhu Sehikh Mujib Medical University. Azam was sentenced last year to 90 years in prison on 61 charges of war crimes during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War. Azam led the Islamist party until 2000, and was still considered to be its spiritual leader.

Activists have long called for the banning of the country's largest Islamist party. In September the Supreme Court of Bangladesh commuted the death sentence of top Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) leader Delwar Hossain Sayedee, sentencing him to life behind bars for crimes committed during the 1971 war. In March, Bangladeshi investigators moved the government to ban the Islamist party after evidence emerged indicating that JI formed armed groups to assist Pakistani forces in the commission of atrocities. On February 10 prominent JI leader AKM Yusuf, died of cardiac arrest while in prison awaiting trial for his role in the 1971 conflict. 

From Jurist, Oct. 24. Used with permission.