Vol. 5 Num 105 Tue. September 07, 2004  
Front Page

No move taken to bring back accused

The government has not taken any initiative to bring back the 12 accused in the Jail Killing Case, who still remain at large abroad.

Of them, seven are also convicted of killing Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Though the government could not make any headway towards bringing them back home, intelligence agencies have reports that at least two of them had even dared make brief visits to Bangladesh, sources said.

The self-confessed killers, on the run abroad, have been keeping close contact with people in the country, including some in the ruling party. They have also been striving to return to the country and have already had several tries at persuading their contacts within the ruling party to this end.

But the ruling party sympathisers refused to give them the nod, as they are either convicted murderers or accused in the Jail Killing Case, the sources said.

In the late 1970s, the government of then president Ziaur Rahman employed those self-confessed killers to diplomatic missions in different countries. Meanwhile, the government sanctioned widow allowance for Mahfuza Pasha, wife of Abdul Aziz Pasha, convicted in Bangabandhu Murder Case.

The Awami League government in 1996 relieved Pasha of his government duties, as he was found guilty of breaching service rules and regulations. Pasha died abroad last year. But after coming to power in October 2001, the BNP-led coalition government overturned the decision and reinstated his status as retired instead of sacked at the request of Mahfuza. It entitled Mahfuza to her deceased husband's pension and other financial facilities.

The AL government initiative to bring the killers of Bangabandhu and four national leaders before court stalled when the BNP returned to power in 2001.

Even the special cell of the foreign ministry created by the AL government to facilitate return of the 12 convicts to Bangladesh and track their movements became inoperative. Since then, neither the foreign nor the home ministry, could provide any news on the whereabouts of the seven convicted killers.

"All activities and operations regarding the return of those 12 have stopped because that's what the government wants," said an official who was involved with the special cell.

Bangladesh signed an extradition treaty with Thailand in 1998 and brought Bazlul Huda, one of the convicts, from Thailand on November 8, 1998, the day the verdict on Bangabandhu Murder Case was delivered.

The then AL government was seeking to sign more extradition treaties with other countries. They even held several discussions with the United States and Canada about signing extradition treaties.

But since the BNP-led coalition came to power in 2001, no country has been approached with intent to sign such a treaty.

Of the accused, Obaidur, Nurul Islam Manzoor, Shah Moazzem Hossain, Taheruddin Thakur and retired army major Khairuzzaman were released on bail in 2001.

Lt Col (dismissed) Syed Faruk Rahman, Lt Col (retired) Sultan Shahriar Rashid Khan and Major (retired) Bazlul Huda, however, are now behind bars.