A senior leader of a major Islamic party in Bangladesh has been charged with war crimes during the 1971 war for independence from Pakistan.

A tribunal specially set up to deal with charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity during the war 40 years ago accepted Monday prosecution charges against Delwar Hossain Sayedee from the Jamaat-e-Islami party.

The Special War Crimes Tribunal in Bangladesh was set up by the Bangladesh government to prosecute only Bengalis who collaborated with the Pakistanis, not members of the Pakistan military.

Sayedee is accused of aiding Pakistan and of leading groups that committed serious crimes such as killing, looting, arson and rape.

Sayedee denies the allegations and the trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 30.

To gain its independence, Bangladesh fought Pakistan for nine months and was supported by India.