Wednesday, October 05, 2011

U.S. urged to deport an assassin of Bangladesh founder

Bangladesh prime minister Shiekh Hasina sitting on extreme right in an undated family photo with Bangladesh independence hero Shiekh Mujibur Rahman


SALEEM SAMAD

BANGLADESH ONCE again has urged United States government to deport the assassin of a hero of Bangladesh independence Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, presently living in the United States.

Foreign Minister Dipu Moni on Tuesday issued a formal diplomatic letter to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to expel the fugitive Lt. Col. M.A. Rashed Chowdhury, who has recently moved into Los Angeles.

Bangladesh Ambassador in Washington Akramul Quader has confirmed information from sources regarding the whereabouts of the convicted colonel after he fled the civil strife Libyan capital. He along with other fugitives was given sanctuary by Colonel Muamar Gaddafi in 1975.

In early 2009 international police organization Interpol issued a red alert against the fugitive assailant of Mujibur Rahman, also popularly know as Bangabandhu (friend of Bangladesh).

Interpol officials said they conducted a drive called Operation Infra-Red 2010 from May 3 to July 15 and gathered information of the movements of the truants.

In August 1975, the first president Rahman along with his family members in his private resident were killed in a military putsch, led by a dozen young military officers from the armored corps. The coup d’état was short lived and the rogue military officers were forced into exile.

When Rahman’s daughter Shiekh Hasina, who survived the killing as she was abroad with his scientist husband, became the prime minister in 1996, she tried the assassins, who boasted in a series of television interviews in London describing the conspiracy and murder of the Bangladesh founder.

The duo coup leaders, Chowdhury and his brother-in-law Col. Syed Farook Rahman were held responsible for conspiracy to overthrow an elected government and murders of the Rahman’s family. Rahman was captured, tried and hanged, while Chowdhury, the key conspirator remains a fugitive.

Earlier in 2009 the U.S. deported A.K.M. Mohiuddin Ahmed to Bangladesh after his application seeking political asylum was refused. Ahmed along with five other key coup leaders were hanged last January in a maximum security prison in capital Dhaka soon after Supreme Court upheld the death sentence of 12 self-confessed assassins of Bangabandhu.

The Canadian immigration turned down Colonel S.H.B.M Noor Chowdhury refugee petitions several times, but he is unlikely to be deported because he faces death penalty in his home country.

Meanwhile, Law Minister Barrister Shafique Ahmed said on Wednesday that the fugitives would be able to appeal to higher courts against their conviction after they are expelled from abroad.

In absence of extradition treaty between Bangladesh and North American countries, the deportation of the assassins will be further delayed.

Saleem Samad, an Ashoka Fellow is an award winning investigative journalist based in Bangladesh. He specializes in Jihad, forced migration, good governance and elective democracy. He has recently returned from exile after living in Canada for six years. He could be reached at saleemsamad@hotmail.com