Nur Chowdhury, a convicted killer of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, ducked a question about the assassination and sped off when a Canadian journalist approached him in Western Toronto.
This was seen in a 42-minute investigative report in the segment “The Fifth Estate” by Canada’s public television CBC, broadcast yesterday morning.
This was the first time Nur was caught on video in Canada where he has been living since 1996.
The report details how the former army officer continues to get protection in Canada.
The episode explored the circumstances of the Nur case and included interviews with many prominent figures, including Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Law Minister Anisul Huq, Bangladesh High Commissioner to Canada Khalilur Rahman, Canadian legal experts, and a CID official in Dhaka, who is involved in the case.
Following a trial which was opened after a long hiatus, five convicts in the Bangabandhu assassination case were hanged in 2010; one convict died in Zimbabwe and six others have been absconding.
The six fugitives are Abdur Rashid, Shariful Huq Dalim, M Rashed Chowdhury, Nur Chowdhury, Abdul Majed and Risaldar Moslemuddin. Of them, Nur is in Canada and Rashed in the US.
After the coup in August 1975, Nur was posted to the Bangladesh embassies in Brazil and Tehran. When the Awami League was voted to power in 1996, Nur moved to Canada and sought asylum.
In 2006, Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board ruled Nur is officially inadmissible to Canada and ordered his deportation. However, the Canadian Supreme Court had rules that it was violation of charter to deport anyone who faced death penalty.
The CBC report pointed out that Nur took advantage of that rule, saying he would face the same punishment if he was deported.
He earlier claimed he was not guilty but was framed. However, Law Minister Anisul Huq said documents proved that he was directly involved in the killing of Bangabandhu on August 15, 1975.
The Canadian Supreme Court also says that people could be sent to their death under “exceptional circumstances”.
The CBC report questions whether Nur has fallen through the crack. Prof Robert Currie of international criminal law at the Dalhousie University in Canada told the CBC that it was likely.
Bangladesh High Commissioner to Canada Khalilur said he made repeated requests to the Canadian authorities to take the case to the Supreme Court. However, there was no response.
The CBC reached out to the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, seeking to know the current status of Nur. In a written statement, it said Canada cannot make comments on the specifics of the person without consent of those involved due to Canadian privacy laws.
In the interview, journalist Mark Kelley asked Prime Minister Hasina if she could put a moratorium on the death penalty so that Nur could be brought back home. She said she has no power to do that.
She asked, “Killers have human rights, but where is my human rights?”
The PM suggested that Canada finds a solution to the case and ensure justice.
Robert Curriesaid the Canadian authorities need to review the pending case for the justice of Nur and the people of Bangladesh and Canada.