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Bangladesh seeks to extradite Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's killers from US, Canada

Update : 15 Aug 2023, 14:08

Bangladesh is trying to bring back two of the fugitive army officers who were involved in shooting dead the country's founding father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and members of his family in cold blood at their Dhaka house on August 15, 1975.

Bangladesh's Law and Justice Minister Anisul Huq, in an exclusive interview with PTI, said that his country was negotiating a return of two "self-confessed killers" of Sheikh Mujib - Rashed Chowdhury from the US and SHBM Noor Chowdhury from Canada, reports NDTV.

"While the whereabouts of Major Shariful Haque Dalim, (a principal plotter behind the killing) is still not known, we know that Col Rashed Chowdhury is in the US and Noor Chowdhury, another of the coup plotter involved in the killing of Bangabandhu is in Canada. We are still in talks with the US on getting the killer officer back," said Mr Huq.

Canada has laws which do not permit a person facing a death sentence at home to be extradited and this has proven to be a hurdle.

"They killed the father of the nation and 17 members of his family...Given the heinous nature of the crime, we have tried to convince Canada to return Noor Chowdhury," the minister said.

The gruesome killing of Sheikh Mujib and his entire family save his two daughters - Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana - who were travelling abroad, at their Dhanmondi bungalow on India's Independence Day had 28-years-ago shaken the entire world.

"They are self-confessed killers and the available evidence is conclusive of their crime," Mr Huq, a London-trained senior advocate of the Bangladesh Supreme Court said.

In 1975, a coterie of middle-level Army officers planned a coup to topple Sheikh Mujib's elected government and replace it with a military government. They chose August 15, India's Independence Day, to carry out the coup.

Four groups of soldiers led by the coup plotters entered Dhaka in the early hours of August 15, 1975. The first group entered Sheikh Mujib's house and killed him after an argument and then went on to slaughter all members of the family as well as personal staff present, including a pregnant daughter-in-law of the family.

Other groups took over the radio station, key government buildings and disarmed security forces stationed at Savar in the city.

Four Awami League leaders - the first Prime Minister of Bangladesh Tajuddin Ahmed, another former PM Mansur Ali, a former Vice President Syed Nazrul Islam and former home minister AHM Qamaruzzaman - were also arrested and incarcerated in Dhaka jail, and later murdered in prison.

Bangladesh consequently marks August 15, as a national day of mourning.

"We have relentlessly tried to track down and bring to justice the killers of Bangabandhu," said Mr Huq. Two years ago, Abdul Majed, a former captain in the Bangladesh army and one of the killers, was hanged after being brought back from abroad.

Ten years before that, five other convicts -- Syed Farooq Rahman, Sultan Shahriar Rashid Khan, Bazlul Huda, AKM Mohiuddin Ahmed and Mohiuddin Ahmed -- were executed in January 2010, while a fifth Aziz Pasha died in Zimbabwe.

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