Vol. 5 Num 1083 Mon. June 18, 2007  
Front Page

Condemned Mohiuddin arrives today
2 US officials accompany the ex-major convicted of August 1975 carnage

AKM Mohiuddin Ahmed, condemned to death for killing Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and most of his family about 32 years ago, might finally be brought back to the country today.

His prolonged legal battle in the US for asylum ended in failure on Thursday with a district court in Los Angeles ruling that it has no jurisdiction over an immigration judge's order for his deportation.

Immigration and foreign ministry officials said ex-army major Mohiuddin, 60, boarded a plane from Los Angeles yesterday noon and was scheduled to arrive at the Zia International Airport (ZIA) on a Thai Airways flight at around 12:30pm.

"We've just received a communication from our Consul General in Washington that the process of his deportation has begun," Foreign Adviser Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury told reporters at a briefing yesterday.

He however did not elaborate on the much-talked about return, citing security concerns of the US authorities.

Two US Homeland Security officials escorting Mohiuddin will hand him over to the police on arrival at ZIA. A warrant for his arrest is still pending with the Airport Police Station, said a police official preferring anonymity.

Police will soon produce him before a Dhaka court and act as per the court directives thereafter, added the official.

Also sentenced to life for aiding and abetting the killing of the four national leaders on November 3, 1975, Mohiuddin was detained by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials in Los Angeles on March 13.

He fled to the US on a visitor's visa in 1996. There he applied for permanent residence but an immigration judge in 2002 ordered for his deportation.

The immigration case dragged on for several years as he appealed the judgment. Then in late February, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco allowed the order to stand.

He was tried in absentia after Awami League (AL) assumed power. A trial court on November 8, 1998 handed down death sentence to him and 14 other former and dismissed army men for killing Bangabandhu and 26 others including his wife, three sons, two daughters-in-law, brother, close relatives, political associates and security men in a pre-dawn attack on August 15, 1975.

The verdict came 23 years after the gruesome killings. The High Court on April 30, 2001 upheld the punishment of 12.

Of the convicts, only four--Lt Col Syed Farooq Rahman, Lt Col Sultan Shahriar Rashid Khan, Lt Col Mohiuddin and Maj Bazlul Huda--are behind bars, one has died while the rest have long been holed up overseas.

Led by Sheikh Hasina, one of Bangabandhu's two surviving daughters, the then government took measures for extradition of the killers, but could not finish the job during its tenure. It managed to get back only Bazlul Huda from Thailand.

The killers were granted impunity through infamous Indemnity Ordinance and successive governments allowed Mohiuddin to represent Bangladesh in a variety of diplomatic posts for about two decades.

The four in jail filed a leave to appeal with the Supreme Court on July 16, 2001. The petition has yet to be disposed of.
AKM Mohiuddin Ahmed