After years of failed negotiations, Bangladesh and Canada have finally agreed to hold talks to find a way to the thorny issue of extraditing fugitive Noor Chowdhury — the self-confessed killer of the country’s founder Sheikh Mujibur Rahman (Bangabandhu) — who has been hiding in Canada.
The two countries reached a consensus during a meeting between Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau in Montreal Friday, the national news agency Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha reported.
After the talks, Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Huq told reporters that the officials of two countries would find out a way for extradition of Chowdhury from Canada. “The aim of the discussion would be to bring Noor Chowdhury to justice and execute the verdict of the Bangabandhu murder case,” he said.
Huq said the government has been trying to extradite Chowdhury, who is in his 70s, from Canada and this decision will open a new window to bring him to Bangladesh.
Chowdhury is a former Bangladeshi military officer who was convicted in absentia in the August 1975 for the assassination of Sheikh Mujib. He is leading a fugitive’s life in Canada.
He is one of the five absconding killers of Sheikh Mujib. In 2009, the Supreme Court of Bangladesh sentenced Chowdhury and 11 others to death in the case. Five of those convicted were hanged in 2010; another five, including Chowdhury, have avoided returning to Bangladesh, and one has died.
Chowdhury was granted visitor status in Canada in 1996, and has not left the country since.
Choudhury’s extradition is a thorny issue because Canada has been a fully abolitionist country since 1998 and in 2011 then Canadian envoy to Dhaka had said Canada can’t extradite him as he could face the death penalty in his home country.
In their discussion Friday, the Hasina and Trudeau also discussed militancy and described it as a “global problem”.
The foreign secretary said the Canadian premier highly appreciated Bangladesh’s anti-militancy stance. He said the two leaders also discussed trade issues, including investment and export of garment products.
This was the first visit of an elected Bangladeshi prime minister to Canada in 30 years, the report said.