Foreign minister asks expatriates to mount pressure on authorities concerned to expedite the killers’ return
Bangladesh has instructed its missions abroad to confirm fugitive August 15 carnage assassins’ locations in countries where are presumed to have hidden, in line with primary intelligence reports.
“Particular Bangladesh missions abroad, where they (fugitives) are assumed to be hiding, have been asked to keep close contacts with security and intelligence agencies of the host countries to track them down on the basis of our lead information,” Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen told BSS on Friday.
He added that letters were sent previously to all missions abroad as part of the campaign to hunt down the five fugitive killers.
A total of 12 sacked military officers were sentenced to death after a protracted trial process — six have been executed and one died a natural death abroad.
Three of the six executed assassins were brought back from three countries — Thailand, the United States and India — after their trial in absentia.
Bangladesh has so far confirmed the current location of two condemned killers — sacked lieutenant colonel SHMB Noor Chowdhury and sacked lieutenant colonel Rashed Chowdhury — in Canada and the United States.
Momen said his office, jointly with the Law Ministry, launched a vigorous attempt to bring them back through engagements with the US and Canadian authorities.
‘Mount pressure on authorities’
The foreign minister urged Bangladeshis living in these two countries to mount community pressures on the authorities there for their return, lunching a signature campaign, supplementing government efforts for their extradition.
Momen also urged expatriate Bangladeshis in other countries to keep a watch on suspected locations of the killers alongside the Bangladesh missions there.
“I call upon our expatriate brothers as well as countrymen to give us information about them (fugitive killers) so that we can wipe off our stigma,” he said.
Momen, however, expressed his inability to confirm the current whereabouts of the others while security agencies earlier said their reports suggest some of them might be changing their locations from one country to another as Interpol had issued “red notice” to track them down.
A police headquarters official said one of the masterminds of the carnage, sacked lieutenant colonel Abdur Rashid, was reported to have taken clandestine refuge in an African country.
Previous reports speculated that some others could be hiding in Pakistan, Libya, Zimbabwe, Spain and Germany.
Home minister Asaduzzuzaman Khan in a separate comment told BSS that “significant progress” had been made for the immediate extradition of Rashed Chowdhury and efforts were underway to bring back Noor Chowdhury as well.
Khan said initiatives were underway for the immediate return of Rashed Chowdhury from the United States but there remained a constitutional barrier for Canada to send back Noor Chowdhury for being a recipient of capital punishment.
Momen also expressed his hope about Rashed Chowdhury’s extradition since “he (Rashed) had provided false information to the US authorities and now his immigration case is being reviewed there”.
He said the process could be expedited if the expatriate Bangladeshis there could make an appeal to the US attorney general through civil society to send Rashed back.
Momen also called upon the Bangladeshi expatriates in Canada to mount pressure on the Canadian authority by telling them “Canada cannot be a hub of murderers”.
Momen urged Bangladeshi expatriates to hold demonstrations in front of the residences of the identified fugitive killers in their respective countries to let their neighbourhood know that a murderer is living beside them.
Bangladesh in October last year formed a special squad comprising members from different intelligence and law enforcement agencies headed by the police’s Special Branch chief, an additional inspector general of police to track down the absconded 1975 killers.
The National Central Bureau (NCB) in Bangladesh coordinates with Interpol in tracking down the killers.