Bangladesh Opens, Adjourns First War Crimes Case

Posted August 10th, 2011 at 10:05 am (UTC-5)
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A special court in Bangladesh has opened and adjourned its first trial of an Islamist leader accused of war crimes during the country's 1971 war of independence.

Bangladesh's International Crimes Tribunal opened the trial of 71-year-old Delwar Hossain Sayedee on Wednesday in Dhaka, but immediately adjourned the hearing until August 18 after defense lawyers requested more time to prepare their case.

Sayedee, a senior official of Jamaat-e-Islami, Bangladesh's largest Islamist party, is accused of killing at least 50 people, rape, arson, looting and torture. Four other Jamaat leaders are facing similar charges.

Bangladesh, formerly known as East Pakistan, won its independence in 1971 after a nine-month war with Pakistan. Three million people were killed and hundreds of thousands of women were raped. Rights groups have also alleged “ethnic cleansing” that targeted East Pakistan's Hindu minority.