The hearing was held on Monday morning, with Bangladeshi lawyers and counsels of the Public Prosecution Service of Canada presenting their arguments
A federal court in Canada has heard a petition, which seeks the deportation of Noor Chowdhury, the self-confessed and convicted killer of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
The hearing was held on Monday morning, with Bangladeshi lawyers and counsels of the Public Prosecution Service of Canada presenting their arguments.
Decision on the matter will be given on a later date, the court said following the hearing, which was attended by the Bangladesh High Commissioner to Canada Md Mizanur Rahman among others.
When asked for comments, a Foreign Ministry official told Bangla Tribune: “In our arguments, we called for Canada to disclose Noor Chowdhury’s status. On the other hand, the Canadian state counsels argued withholding this information will not hurt the interest of Canadian citizens.”
After Awami League came to state power in 2009, Noor Chowdhury filed a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment application with the Canadian immigration authority saying he would face death penalty if he is sent back to Bangladesh. Decisions on the petition has been kept pending for the last 10 years. The Canadian government has neither accepted nor rejected the application.
In June 2018, Bangladesh lodged a Writ of Mandamus with the Federal Court seeking definite decision on the matter.
Whichever way the decision goes, Bangladesh wants the Canadian authorities to come to a conclusion on the application, which is kept dangling for the last decade.
If the Canadian government scraps Chowdhury’s application, there will be no bar to extradite him to Bangladesh. On the other hand, if his application is accepted, he will be granted a status in Canada. However, Bangladesh will then be able to lodge a fresh case seeking his deportation on the grounds that he is convicted on charges of crimes against humanity.
In 1999, a Canadian court rejected his application for political asylum and issued an order to deport him. When the decision was challenged, a higher court upheld the lower court’s decision in 2017 and ordered his deportation again. The Canadian authorities even wrote to the then Bangladesh government to send him back.
However, due to the lack of interest on the government’s part, Chowdhury found breathing space and leveraged the Pre-Removal Risk Assessment clause to secure his stay in Canada.
On August 15, 1975, the then president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his family were ruthlessly gunned down by a group of rogue army personnel; Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana survived since they were overseas at that time.
Following a trial which was opened after a long hiatus, five persons convicted of being involved in the killing were hanged in 2010; one person died in Zimbabwe and six are absconding.
They six fugitives are: Abdur Rashid, Shariful Huq Dalim, M Rashed Chowdhury, SHM Noor Chowdhury, Abdul Majed and Risaldar Moslemuddin. INTERPOL red notice was issued against them.
Of them, Noor Chowdhury is in Canada and M Rashed Chowdhury in USA, conformed National Central Bureau, NCB.