Vol. 5 Num 676 Mon. April 24, 2006  
Front Page

Govt confirms US citizen's deportation
A CIA plane might have been used in the task

The government yesterday confirmed the rounding up and extradition of Ehsanul Islam Sadequee, a 19-year-old US citizen of Bangladeshi origin.

According to unconfirmed reports, a special chartered plane secretly took Sadequee back to the USA on Thursday, three days into his capture in Dhaka. He faces a charge of planning terrorist attack in the USA.

His father Sarder Mohammed Sharif yesterday gave some medicines to US embassy officials who promised to hand those over to his son.

Sadequee's activities were suspicious; so he was sent back to the USA, State Minister for Home Lutfozzaman Babar told reporters yesterday emerging out of a meeting with the new US ambassador to Bangladesh, Patricia A Butenis.

"No extradition treaty is needed for that," he said, adding, "We have deported many people. Every year we extradite five to seven people to the USA."

"He was handed over on the basis of sufficient information and evidence about his involvement in militancy," BBC Bangla Service quoted the state minister as saying.

"If the government considers him persona non grata, it can very well deport him. Not only our government, any government can do that," was the comment of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Moudud Ahmed to reporters, also after a meeting with the new US envoy.

But, according to Barrister Tanjib Ul Alam, a junior of eminent lawyer Dr Kamal Hossain, extradition treaty is a must to exchange detainees.

Besides, he said notice has to be served to the person concerned, asking him to leave the country within a certain period. If the person does not leave, only then could he be arrested and deported to the country concerned.

Sadequee was arrested on April 17 from Dhaka. But, although a number of foreign media reported that he was flown back to the USA for suspected involvement in Islamist militancy, the government and police and intelligence agencies have been keeping mum about his disappearance.

Even yesterday, Deputy Commissioner (North) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police Obaidur Rahman Khan said they still do not know what has happened to Sadequee. He said an abduction case has been filed about his disappearance and it is still under investigation.

"After his rescue, we will talk to him and then we will know what actually happened," Obaidur told The Daily Star.

"I have seen newspaper reports that he has been deported to the USA but I don't know who have sent him there," the DC claimed.

A report of news agency AP yesterday said: An American teen has been arraigned in federal court in New York for his alleged role in planning a terrorist strike in the United States.

An FBI affidavit says 19-year-old Ehsanul Sadequee was one of two US citizens who met with Islamic extremists in Canada. There they allegedly discussed possible terrorist targets within the United States.

The teen sat silently during a brief court appearance in Brooklyn Sunday, looking slightly dishevelled. He had just returned from Bangladesh, where he was taken into custody. FBI documents say his suitcase held a map of Washington and a CD-ROM with encrypted files agents have not yet been able to decode.

He was indicted along with a 21-year-old student at Georgia Tech. Both of them live in Atlanta.

One of the chartered aeroplanes allegedly used for the controversial 'extraordinary rendition' by the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) has been tracked flying out of Bangladesh on April 20 midnight, sources said.

The objective of the Gulfstream Aerospace G-V aircraft's calling at Zia International Airport (ZIA) could not be verified. However, its departure did coincide with Sadequee's extradition.

A group of human rights researchers, who tracks the activities of US chartered air planes previously used for CIA's 'extraordinary rendition' flights, reported that one such private plane was seen flying out of Bangladesh that night.

The identification number of the aircraft, manufactured in 2000 and operated by US National Aircraft Leasing, is N596GA, according to information available in the Internet.

The planned departure time of the flight was 1700 hours. According to its flight manifest, it flew to Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska, then to Teterboro, New Jersey, and finally to Manassas, Virginia, USA.

The researchers had earlier seen this flight arrive in Turkey, but the stopover in Dhaka attracted attention, as it was the first time one of these flights was seen in Bangladesh, sources said.

When The Daily Star contacted the airport inquiry at ZIA last night, an official concerned confirmed that an unscheduled flight of a Gulfstream G-V aircraft left the airport at five minutes past midnight on April 20. He, however, declined to provide further details.