Jamaat-e-Islami leader AKM Yusuf, who was on trial for crimes against humanity, died this morning at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU).
Yusuf, who faced 13 charges for atrocities he committed during the country’s Liberation War in 1971, was taken to Gazipur Sadar Hospital after he had fallen sick at Kashimpur Jail-1, reports our Gazipur correspondent.
He was shifted to the BSMMU around 11:00am where he breathed his last after half an hour, hospital sources said.
Yusuf, known as the founder of infamous Peace Committees and Razakar force in the greater Khulna region, fainted at the Kashimpur jail in the morning, his counsel Gazi MH Tamim told The Daily Star.
After his death, defence counsel Tajul Islam claimed that the jail authorities brought Yusuf to the BSMMU around 10:15am but he was not given proper primary treatment there.
Denying the allegation, BSMMU Director Brig Gen (retd) Abdul Majid Bhuiyan told reporters that Yusuf was whisked off to the hospital in critical condition around 11:00am and doctors tried their best to save him.
But he died on way to the hospital's ICU, he said.
Yusuf might have died of cardiac arrest but reason behind his death can only be ascertained after his autopsy, the director said.
Meanwhile, International Crimes Tribunal-2 in an order asked to maintain jail code when the defence submitted a petition before it so that they can receive Yusuf's body without postmortem.
As per the jail code, if any accused died in custody autopsy is mandatory, prosecutor Muklesur Rahman Badal told The Daily Star.
Yusuf, 87, was indicted on August 1 last year on 13 charges of genocide and crimes against humanity that he had allegedly committed in Khulna region during the Liberation War in 1971.
Of the charges levelled against Yusuf, the then deputy chief of Jamaat, which vehemently opposed the birth of Bangladesh, seven are for genocide.
The genocide charge was brought for killing several hundred people in Khulna and Bagerhat during.
On May 8 last year, the prosecution pressed 15 war crimes charges against the Jamaat nayeb-e-ameer.
Law enforcers arrested Yusuf on May 12 following an arrest warrant issued by the ICT-1.
The case was later transferred to the Tribunal-2 following a petition by the prosecution.
According to the brief profile of the Jamaat leader read out by the tribunal, Yusuf, son of late Azim Uddin Howlader of Rajoir village in Sharankhola of Bagerhat, joined Jamaat in 1952.
He became the chief of Khulna division Jamaat in 1957.
He started his profession as a madrasa teacher in 1952 and became the principal of Khulna Alia Madrasa in 1958.
In 1962, Yusuf was elected as a member of the National Assembly.
He was nominated provincial joint secretary of Jamaat in 1969.
In 1971, he was the deputy ameer of then East Pakistan Jamaat and he was one of the two provincial ministers from Jamaat.
According to prosecution documents, Yusuf established the Razakar force, an auxiliary force of the Pakistani army, on May 5, 1971, at an Ansar camp on Khan Jahan Ali Road in Khulna with 96 Jamaat activists.