Ghulam Azam (Bengali: গোলাম আযম; 7 November 1922 – 23 October 2014) was a Bangladeshi Islamist politician and the former leader of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, the largest Islamist political party in Bangladesh.
On 15 July 2013, a Bangladeshi special tribunal, the International Crimes Tribunal found him guilty of war crimes such as conspiring, planning, incitement to and complicity in committing genocide and was sentenced to 90 years in jail. The tribunal stated that Azam deserved capital punishment for his activity during Liberation war of Bangladesh, but was given a lenient punishment of imprisonment because of his age and poor health condition.
As a leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami, he led the formation of the Shanti Committees that were formed at the time of the Liberation War alongside other pro-Pakistan Bengali leaders. Azam was accused of forming paramilitary groups for the Pakistani Army, including Razakars, and Al-Badr. These militias opposed the Mukti Bahini members who fought for the independence of Bangladesh, and also stand accused of war crimes. Azam’s citizenship was cancelled by the Bangladeshi Government because of playing an opposition role during the Bangladesh liberation war.
He lived informally in Bangladesh from 1978 to 1994 without any authorised Bangladeshi visa. His citizenship was then reinstated by the Supreme Court of Bangladesh.
Azam was arrested on 11 January 2012 by the International Crimes Tribunal in Bangladesh on the charges of committing war crimes during the Bangladesh liberation war. The tribunal rejected the plea of bail after noting that there were formal charges against Azam of which it had taken cognisance.
He was 91 when he died of a stroke on 23 October 2014 at BSMMU.