• Tuesday, Oct 15, 2019
  • Last Update : 03:38 pm

Plea for judicial review to reveal Noor's status in Canada accepted

  • Published at 12:21 pm September 19th, 2019
Noor Chowdhury
Noor Chowdhury Collected

Noor was tried and convicted in 1998 in absentia as a co-conspirator in the 1975 coup that resulted in the death of the then president Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his family

A Canadian court has accepted Bangladesh’s application for a judicial review on the immigration minister’s decision to refuse the disclosure of Noor Chowdhury’s status in the country.

In a verdict on Tuesday, Canada Federal Court Judge Justice O'Reilly said: “I must, therefore, allow this application for judicial review and remit the decision back to the minister for redetermination, with costs.”

Responding to queries regarding the matter, Law Minister Anisul Huq said Bangladesh will now request the Canadian government to disclose the pre-removal risk assessment (PRRA) status of Noor, who was convicted for murdering Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

The judge said: “In my view, Bangladesh’s application for judicial review should be allowed because the minister failed to give serious consideration to the public interest that would be served if the information sought were disclosed.”

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The court considered four issues while handing out its verdict: "Is the application for judicial review premature?," "Should portions of the affidavits filed by Bangladesh be struck?," "Is this matter justiciable?," "Was the minister’s decision unreasonable?"

The law minister said: “The court has accepted our petition and now we will ask the Canadian immigration minister to reveal his identity,” he said adding that request would be made “as soon as possible.”

What’s Noor’s status in Canada?

In 1996, Noor and his wife, both Bangladeshi citizens, were granted visitor status in Canada. They applied for refugee protection after reaching the country.

In the meantime, Noor was tried and convicted in 1998 in absentia as a co-conspirator in the 1975 coup that resulted in the death of the then president Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his family, the verdict said.

In 2002, Noor and his wife were excluded from refugee protection after having committed a serious non-political crime. In 2006, the two of them were found to be inadmissible in Canada for committing serious criminal offences.

When Awami League came to power in 2009, Noor requested a PRRA with the Canadian attorney general’s office.

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Since 2010, Bangladesh has been in talks with Canadian officials about his status in Canada and has expressed concerns about the delay relating to his PRRA application, the verdict said.

In 2018, the high commissioner of Bangladesh wrote to Canada’s minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship, requesting that minister invokes his powers to disclose, in the public interest, information about Noor's immigration and PRRA application status. 

The Canadian minister refused the high commissioner’s request stating that there was no information-sharing agreement between the two countries.

The Bangladesh envoy then sought to achieve a limited information-sharing agreement with Canada, but the minister refused that too, the verdict said.

According to the verdict, Bangladesh now seeks judicial review of the minister’s decision to refuse the disclosure of Noor’s PRRA status.

In all the aforementioned issues the courts disagreed with the arguments of the minister and Noor Chowdhury.