Diplomatic efforts crucial to bring back killers

The Bangladesh government is repeatedly trying to bring back the fugitive killers of the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. 

However, the process is being delayed due to some complications in the rules and policies of the countries where the killers remain hiding.

Laws of the European countries, including those of Great Britain do not permit sending back anyone to any country where there is death risk. Law of Canada is also the same and the policy of Canada does not approve sending back a person to a country that has the provision for death sentence. Accordingly, the United States of America (USA) follows its own Immigration and Refugee Protection Acts.

But in the case of the US, frequent deportations are being made. In this circumstance, both the Democrats and the Republicans are working in the same spirit to protect their homeland.

According to information, incidents of deportation are much higher compared to those in the tenure of the Obama administration. And that is why it might be easier to bring Bangabandhu’s killer Rashed Chowdhury, one of the six fugitive killers of Bangabandhu, back from the US despite there being no extradition treaty between Bangladesh and the US.

It is learnt that the US usually does not follow the extradition treaty in the cases of deportations. The US had sent many Bangladeshi citizens back to Bangladesh as part of the deportation process. 

Not only that, the US government earlier had deported Lt Col Mohiuddin Ahmed, another fugitive killer of Bangabandhu, on June 17 in 2007. He had been deported to Bangladesh after a US court rejected his appeal for residency. 

Besides, Maj (retd) Bazlul Huda, another killer of Bangabandhu, had also been handed over to Bangladesh by Thailand government in 1998. Huda had been taken back to Dhaka following an extradition treaty signed between Bangladesh and Bangkok.

Both Mohiuddin and Huda, along with three other convicted killers-- Syed Farooq Rahman, Sultan Shahriar Rashid Khan--were hanged on January 28, 2010 while another killer, Aziz Pasha, is said to have died in Zimbabwe in 2001.

Apart from those six convicted killers of Bangabandhu, six more killers of Bangabandhu are still at large. They are Col (dismissed) Khandaker Abdur Rashid, Lt Col (relieved) Shariful Haque Dalim, Maj (retd) Noor Chowdhury, Maj (retd) Rashed Chowdhury, Capt Abdul Majed and Risaldar Moslehuddin Khan.

The tragedy is that three and a half years after the independence of Bangladesh, Bangabandhu was assassinated along with most of his family members on Aug 15, 1975, by a group of army officers at his residence in Dhanmondi. The court convicted a total 12 killers to capital punishment. 

According to government official sources, of those six fugitive killers, Rashed Chowdhury is now staying in California and the US government granted his political asylum. 

Another fugitive killer Maj (retd) Noor Chowdhury is staying in Canada. He has not been granted asylum by Canada as yet. Despite repeated requests from Bangladesh to deport Noor Chowdhury, the Canadian government is not showing any response as its policy does not approve deporting any person to any country that has the provision for death sentence.

Whereabouts of the remaining four killers-- Col (dismissed) Khandaker Abdur Rashid, Lt Col (relieved) Shariful Haque Dalim, Capt Abdul Majed and Risaldar Moslehuddin Khan are yet to be determined. 

According to sources, the government is trying to bring back Rashed Chowdhury and Noor Chowdhury as well as to detect locations of four other fugitive killers.

In a latest move, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina wrote a letter to US President Donald Trump to have fugitive Bangabandhu murder convict Rashed Chowdhury extradited to Bangladesh and the letter was sent on September 2018, said sources. The Prime Minister also several times asked the Canadian authorities to deport Noor Chowdhury to Bangladesh.

Officials at the law and foreign ministries said, the government is deeply engaged with the US and the Canadian authorities about extradition of the two killers, but they have not yet agreed to send them back. 

Foreign ministry official sources said, two law firms, one in the US and another in Canada have been appointed for lobbying as part of the process to bring the killers back to the country.