Dhaka: Bangladesh has asked Canada to deport a former army colonel who is one of the six fugitive convicts in the 1975 assassination of Bangladesh`s founding president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Foreign Minister Dipu Moni conveyed the request to her Canadian counterpart Lawrence Cannon at a meeting in Ottawa last week.
A senior foreign ministry official confirmed to New Age newspaper that Moni had told the Canadian minister that if there were legal difficulties in extraditing S.H.M.B. Nur Chowdhury to Bangladesh, Canada could deport him to a third country instead of allowing him to remain in hiding in Canada.
Chowdhury has appealed to the Canadian government for permission to stay there as a citizen or a refugee on the grounds that he would be executed if he was deported to Bangladesh.
The Canadian law does not permit execution.
Death sentence awarded to Nur Chowdhury by the trial court in 1998 was later confirmed by the High Court Division as well as the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court.
On Nov 19, 2009, the Supreme Court of Bangladesh upheld the death sentence of 12 self-confessed assassins.
Five of them, Syed Farooq Rahman, Sultan Shahriar Rashid Khan, Bazlul Huda, A.K.M. Mohiuddin Ahmed and Mohiuddin Ahmed, were hanged Jan 28, 2010.
Abdul Aziz Pasha, died in Zimbabwe in June 2001.
The government Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Mujib`s daughter, has intensified efforts to bring home six of the convicts - Khandaker Abdur Rashid, Shariful Haque Dalim, Chowdhury, A.M. Rashed Chowdhury, Abdul Mazed and Moslehuddin Khan - living abroad.
A dozen officers - serving, retired or dismissed - led a coup in which Mujib and most of his family were killed Aug 15, 1975.
The government has asked India to help in nabbing two of them including Moslehuddin, the non commissioned officer who is supposed to have opened fire on Mujib.
Unconfirmed reports indicate that Abdul Mazed was in India or Pakistan, Rashed Chowdhury in Los Angeles, Nur Chowdhury in Canada, and Rashid and Dalim could be in Libya or Pakistan.
The government has been trying to conclude extradition treaties or take other diplomatic steps necessary to get the fugitive assassins back home.
If extradited, Nur Chowdhury would be the third condemned convict to be brought back home to face justice in the case after retired Major Bazlul Huda and retired Major A.K.M. Mohiuddin Ahmed.
Thailand extradited Huda in 1998 after Dhaka and Bangkok signed a treaty.
The US extradited Ahmed during the two-year rule of the military-backed emergency caretaker government in June 2007 after he failed to obtain a federal court order to stay there.