Professor Ghulam Azam was arrested today on alleged charges of war crimes. These accusations have a clearly political motivation, to discredit Jamaat-e-Islami and prevent their role in Bangladeshi politics. Despite Ghulam Azam’s opposition to the creation of Bangladesh, he has never advocated or participated in ‘crimes against humanity’.
It is deeply regrettable that the judges have refused bail in view of his age and ill health. The lack of impartiality of the judges has already been noted by international human rights lawyers (see previous post). The Bangladeshi government must ensure that a fair trial is conducted to international standards if this trial is to have any credibility. A trial of this nature is already severely flawed by the lack of credible contemporaneous evidence, intimidation of defence lawyers and witnesses, and statements by government officials seeming to anticipate the outcome of the trial before it has even concluded.