Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Canada won’t deport Mujib’s fugitive assassin Noor Chowdhury

SALEEM SAMAD

Toronto, 6 March: Bangladeshi fugitive convicted of killing his country's Prime Minister Shiekh Mujibur Rahman in a bloody coup won't be deported from Canada because he faces a death sentence in his homeland, an immigration board has ruled.

Lt. Colonel SHMB Noor Chowdhury, 57, sought a political asylum to stay in Canada in 1997 but was deemed inadmissible due to convictions in absentia for murder and conspiracy to commit murder, according to an Canada Immigration and Refugee Board.

On 5 March Toronto Sun newspaper, journalist Tom Godfrey writes that the Canadian authority concluded that the fugitive killer won't be deported.

The former lieutenant-colonel in the Bangladeshi military and 18 others were convicted of taking part in an August 1975 coup in which Bangladesh founder Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and 15 members of his family were murdered.

The Board said in a secret ruling made available last week noted that the Noor Chowdhury “participated in a coup ... walking into the victim's home and killing him."
The board noted he faces certain death if he's deported to Bangladesh. "Removal to Bangladesh was not foreseeable as long as the death sentence remained in effect," the board said.

Soon after in 1999, a court sentenced 15 former army officers to death for their roles in the massacre, a man-hunt for fugitives was launched. Bangladesh immediately requested Canada government to deport three wanted fugitives living in Canada. However, Canada and Bangladesh do not have extradition treaty to repatriate criminals.

Chowdhury and two others Captain (relieved) Kismat Hasem and Captain (relieved) Nazmul Hossain Ansari allegedly involved in the coup fled to Canada after years on the run. The two have since obtained citizenship - one lives in Ottawa, the other in Montreal. Whereabouts of Noor in Canada is not known.

Last Sunday outgoing Bangladesh High Commissioner to Canada Rafiq Ahmed Khan speaking at a gathering of expat Bangladeshi community leaders and journalists denied issuance of passport to Noor Chowdhury.

He also said the passport possessed by Noor was forged. About the date and signature of the official contained in the said passport, he reiterated the earlier statement of Foreign Ministry and said no official in that name was employed at the mission at that time. #