UK’ stance on Shamima raises the question of giving shelter to war criminal Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin

Published : 24 Nov 2022 09:38 PM

Barrister Shah Ali, a former special assistant of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, has raised the question of not extraditing war criminal Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin to Bangladesh on the ground death penalty.

 The question was raised following the UK’s position on the 'IS bride' Shamima Begum.

 “If the prospect of death penalty for terrorism didn’t stop UK government for rendering (Shamima Begum) stateless and have Bangladesh deal with her, how come death penalty becomes ground for extraditing convicted war criminal Chowdhury Mueen Uddin,” Barrister Farhad tweeted.

 Shamima Begum is now stateless and would face death penalty if sent to Bangladesh, her lawyer told the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) in UK.

 SIAC is a UK court that deals with appeals from persons deported by the home secretary under various statutory powers.

 The court was told that the then home secretary, Sajid Javid, had failed to consider the "serious practical consequences" of removing Shamima's UK citizenship in 2019, reports The Guardian.

 "It is clear that he gave no consideration to the prospect that the deprivation decision would render the appellant de facto stateless," Dan Squires KC, Shamima's lawyer, told the hearing.

 Home office documents shared with the court also showed that Begum's "de jure statelessness" was confirmed only the day before her citizenship was revoked.

 "There is nothing in any of the home secretary's evidence which suggests that consideration was given -- prior to the deprivation decision being taken, or indeed at any time -- to matters relating to de facto citizenship," Dan Squires said.

 These matters included whether 23-year-old Shamima Begum would be recognised by Bangladesh as a citizen and provided with any protection or practical support, he said.

 "The home secretary has not responded to the allegation that the decision-maker neither directed his mind to this issue, nor took steps such as contacting the Bangladeshi authorities to find out their position regarding the appellant," the lawyer added.

 Had such inquiries been conducted, "the Bangladesh authorities would have confirmed that the appellant would be hanged if she entered the country," Squires said.

 "It is clear that, had the home secretary made inquiries as to the practical effect of depriving the appellant of her citizenship, he would likely have understood that the appellant could be left without the protection of any state," Shamima's lawyers said further adding that "it was, or ought to have been, known to the home secretary, that even where deprivation does not result in de jure statelessness, it may render a person de facto stateless, with extremely serious practical consequences."

 On the contrary, Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin is a war criminal convicted for the killing of Bengali intellectuals in collaboration with the Pakistan Army during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971.

 After the liberation of Bangladesh, he escaped from Bangladesh and took British citizenship. He has been absconding in the UK ever since.

 On 3 November 2013, the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT), set up by the government of Bangladesh to judge international crimes committed during 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War, sentenced Mueen-Uddin, in absentia, to death for killing nine teachers of Dhaka University, six journalists and three doctors in 1971.

 He has been accused of war crimes long before the establishment of the ICT. In 1972, The New York Times reported that he "has been identified as the head of a secret, commando-like organization of fanatic Moslems".