DHAKA - Bangladeshi security forces arrested on Sunday the leader of the country's biggest Islamist party on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, a senior police official said.

AKM Yusuf, the leader of Jamaat-e-Islami, was arrested in the capital Dhaka and charged with offenses dating back to Bangladesh's 1971 war of independence with Pakistan.

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His arrest comes after the sentencing to death last week of another Islamist party leader for wartime atrocities. That decision brought a wave of violent protest from supporters, and police say they are concerned about the risk of a backlash from Jamaat activists.