A federal court in Canada on Monday kept pending its decision on SHBM Noor Chowdhury, one of the six fugitives condemned to death on charge of murder of Bangladesh’s founding president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
A decision on the matter would be given on a later date, the judge after hearing Bangladesh lawyers and counsel of the Office of the Attorney General of Canada, said diplomatic sources in Canada.
The Bangladesh side demanded that the Canadian authorities must disclose the status of Noor Chowdhury in Canada, a Bangladesh official said.
The Canadian side said that they wanted to make sure that information on Noor would not damage the interests of Canadian citizens.
Bangladesh High Commissioner to Canada Mizanur Rahman was present at the court.
Bangladesh would continue to pursue the matter and the foreign and law ministries have been working together for the past 10 years in this regard, foreign secretary M Shahidul Haque told New Age at his office on Tuesday.
After the installation of the Awami League government in 2009, Noor Chowdhury filed a petition with the Office of the Canadian Attorney General seeking pre-removal risk assessment claiming that he might face death penalty if he was sent back to Bangladesh.
Decisions on his petition has been kept pending for the past 10 years as the Canadian government has neither accepted nor rejected it.
Bangladesh filed a writ petition in June 2018 with the Canadian court seeking definite decision on Noor’s petition.
If the Canadian attorney general rejects his application, there would be no bar to extradite him to Bangladesh, the foreign secretary said.
If the attorney general accepts Noor’s appeal he would be granted a status in Canada and Bangladesh would then be able to file a fresh case seeking his deportation on the grounds that he was convicted of charges of crimes against humanity, he said.
Earlier in 1999, a Canadian court rejected Noor’s petition seeking political asylum and issued an order to deport him. Noor had challenged the decision at a higher court that upheld the decision of the lower court in early 2007 and ordered his deportation.
Bangladesh missed the opportunity to bring Noor back due to lack of interests of the military controlled interim regime led by Fakhruddin Ahmed and Noor leverage to seek a pre-removal assessment to lengthen his stay in Canada.
The Bangladesh government urged Canadian authorities on almost every occasion since 2009 for deportation of Noor.
According to Canadian laws, the country does not send back foreign nationals who face death penalty in their own country.
Sheikh Mujib was assassinated along with all but two of his family on August 15, 1975 at his Dhanmondi house in Dhaka by a group of army personnel. His daughters – Sheikh Hasina, now the Bangladesh prime minister and Sheikh Rehana – survived the massacre as they were abroad.
Of the people condemned to death in the Mujib murder case, five were hanged in 2010, one died in Zimbabwe and six had gone into hiding.
The six fugitives are Abdur Rashid, Shariful Huq Dalim, M Rashed Chowdhury, SHBM Noor Chowdhury, Abdul Majed and Moslemuddin. Interpol issued red notice against them. Of them, Noor is in Canada and Rashed is in the United States, according to government sources.