Joy says US must extradite his grandfather's killer

Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha | Published: 12:36, Nov 08,2016 | Updated: 12:48, Nov 08,2016

Sajeeb Wazed Joy

Sajeeb Wazed Joy. — New Age file photo

Sajeeb Wazed Joy, a grandson of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, has demanded immediate extradition of Rashed Chowdhury, a convicted killer of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, from the United States.

‘To the best of our knowledge, Rashed Chowdhury has not been granted refugee status in the USA; therefore, he is not immune from extradition proceedings. There are no grounds for further delay in extraditing him. The United States should respond to Bangladesh's repeated pleas to conclude the matter, so that justice may be done,’ Joy wrote in an article published in The New York Times on Monday.

Joy, also the prime minister's adviser information and communications technology, wrote that 15 former military officers were convicted in 1998 of the assassination. Appeals and further process followed, but finally, in 2009, Bangladesh's Supreme Court delivered a measure of justice the nation had long craved by upholding the convictions of five of the assassins. The saga did not end there.

In 1996, before the trials started, Rashed Chowdhury joined several other conspirators in fleeing Bangladesh. He applied for asylum in San Francisco, but his current immigration status is unclear. Since then, he has reportedly lived in Los Angeles and Chicago. Despite the efforts of the Bangladesh government, Chowdhury remains hiding in plain sight; the American government should stop sheltering him.

If Rashed Chowdhury is extradited to Bangladesh, he will face a death sentence. Like the United States, Bangladesh allows the death penalty for high crimes like treason, terrorism and federal murder.

‘He is not the only assassin of my grandfather to seek shelter in America. Another, Lieutenant  Colonel Mohiuddin Ahmed, was handed over to Bangladesh authorities in 2007 after a United States court appropriately denied his request to stay permanently. He was deported and hanged, along with four others, in 2010.’

On the morning of August 15, 1975, the democratically elected government of Bangladesh was overthrown by a military coup. The soldiers who stormed the Dhaka residence of the president, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who was also my grandfather, shot and killed him, along with 18 other members of my family. They included my grandmother, three of my uncles (one of whom was only 10 years old) and my pregnant aunt.

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