A word from the Editor-in-Chief: Those absconding murderers

Enayetullah Khan
Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017
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The Law Minister held out the assurance at a seminar last week that the absconding convicted assassins of the Father of the Nation would be brought back to Bangladesh. The update on the issue is simple. Five of the assassins have been hanged, while the others remain fugitive in different countries, beyond the law in Bangladesh as well as in the countries where they are either hiding or living in political asylum. Two of the killers are in the United States and Canada and both these countries have so far declined to hand them over to the Bangladesh authorities on grounds of their opposition to capital punishment. The others reportedly move from place to place, while another has remained untraced since the tragic events of August 1975. One of the convicts has died in Zimbabwe.


The nation would like to know what precise steps have been taken to convince the foreign governments involved that these remaining killers should be returned to Dhaka. It is especially Washington and Ottawa, which serve as refuge for two of the killers — and these killers move about openly under the protection of American and Canadian laws — which must be relentlessly pursued over the issue. The government needs to activate the Foreign and Home Ministries in sketching detailed ways in which to present Bangladesh’s case to the authorities in the two countries. Simply stated, the argument must be made that if the US and Canada are true believers in the rule of law and human rights, they cannot ignore the criminality of the men they have given shelter to. The argument must be made forcefully that these men have taken part in a wide conspiracy to murder not just Bangabandhu but members of his immediate family and extended clan and then have fled the country.


The government needs to follow a two-track approach in pursuing the case regarding bringing the remaining assassins to justice. Intellectuals, among whom should be academics, lawyers and researchers, should be dispatched to those capitals which have given asylum to the killers. Besides Canada and the US, there is Pakistan which must be forcefully engaged in the job of ensuring the return of two convicts, Shariful Haq Dalim and Abdur Rashid, who either are resident there or make frequent trips there.


Let the government take practical moves to bring the remaining assassins of Bangabandhu to justice.

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