Friday, March 16, 2007

Figure in Bangladesh Coup Arrested in USA

In this photo provided by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, shows Mohiuddin A.K.M. Ahmed, in Los Angeles. Ahmed a former Bangladeshi military officer convicted in absentia for his role in the 1975 assassination of his country's first prime minister has been arrested in Southern California, authorities said Wednesday, March 14, 2007. Ahmed, 60, was arrested Tuesday morning at his Los Angeles home, said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Lori Haley. (AP Photo/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) (AP)
DAISY NGUYEN, Los Angeles

A former Bangladeshi military officer convicted in absentia for his role in the 1975 assassination of his country's first prime minister has been arrested, authorities said Wednesday.

Mohiuddin A.K.M. Ahmed, 60, was arrested Tuesday morning at his Los Angeles home, said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Lori Haley.

Ahmed had been sought by Bangladesh's government since he and 14 others were convicted in 1998 for the murder of Prime Minister Mujibur Rahman in an Aug. 15, 1975 military coup. All were sentenced to death.

Ahmed was convicted in absentia because he had entered the United States in 1996 on a visitor's visa. He applied for permission to stay in the country permanently but was ordered to return to Bangladesh to face the criminal charges.

The immigration case dragged on for several years as he appealed a deportation order handed down by an immigration judge in 2002. Late last month, a judge in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco denied his petition to review the case, allowing the order to stand.

Authorities will begin proceedings to return him to Bangladesh, said Brian DeMore, the immigration enforcement agency's deputy field director.

"This case has been followed very closely by ICE," DeMore said. "After the 9th Circuit denied his petition to review the case, (Ahmed) became a fugitive in the U.S."

It was not immediately known whether Ahmed had an attorney.

Abu Zafar, the consul general of Bangladesh in Los Angeles, said he was not aware of Ahmed's arrest and declined to comment.

U.S. authorities said Ahmed represented the Bangladeshi government in a variety of foreign diplomatic posts in the two decades following Rahman's assassination.

Rahman, popularly known as "Sheikh Mujib," led Bangladesh's independence war against Pakistan in 1971. He was gunned down at his Dhaka residence by military men who also killed most of his family and a number of trusted aides.

Rahman's killers granted themselves amnesty. They were not brought to trial until Rahman's surviving daughter, Sheik Hasina, became prime minister in 1996. #

Source: Associated Press, March 14, 2007