Death convicts stay safe abroad
Even though forty years have passed since the killing of four national leaders at Dhaka Central Jail, none of the convicted killers has been brought to book.
All the convicts are in hiding, in the USA, Canada and some other countries. And, there is no positive message from the government about bringing them back to the country.
US Ambassador to Bangladesh Marcia Stephens Bloom Bernicat in August this year officially informed Dhaka that fugitive Rashed Chowdhury was staying in the US after securing political asylum there.
A government taskforce, working since 2010 to locate and bring back the absconding killers, came to know that another convicted killer Noor Chowdhury is now in Canada, but staying there illegally.
The country has declined to deport him as its policy does not approve sending back a person where there is a provision of death sentence. Canada, however, reportedly did not accept Noor's application for political asylum.
The taskforce has no confirmation about the location of the other fugitives, as they are always on the move, a taskforce member told this correspondent, requesting anonymity.
Amid such a situation, the nation observes the 40th anniversary of the Jail Killing Day today to mourn the four liberation movement heroes -- Syed Nazrul Islam, Tajuddin Ahmad, AHM Quamruzzaman and Captain M Mansur Ali.
The four leaders were shot dead following repeated bayonet charges at the jail on this day in 1975.
They were sent to jail soon after the August 15, 1975, bloodbath that claimed the lives of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and most of his family members.
The four leaders had led the country's Liberation War while Bangabandhu was detained by the Pakistan army.
Attorney General Mahbubey Alam, who is a member of the taskforce, told The Daily Star on November 1 that the government has taken necessary steps to bring the killers back to the country.
But, unfortunately, the governments of the countries, where the killers are hiding, are not cooperating, he said.
Contacted, Law Minister Anisul Huq, who heads the taskforce, repeated his previous statement that the government was trying its best to bring back the fugitive killers through diplomatic channels.
He, however, did not elaborate on this saying if he disclosed the strategy, the convicted killers cannot be brought back.
The Supreme Court on April 30, 2013, upheld the death penalty of three former army personnel and life term imprisonment of eight others for killing the four national leaders.
The three convicts, who were awarded death penalty, are Risalder (retd) Muslemuddin, Dafadar (dismissed) Marfat Ali Shah and Dafadar (dismissed) Abdul Hashem Mridha.
The eight convicts, who were handed down life term imprisonment, are Lt Col (dismissed) Khondaker Abdur Rashid, Lt Col (relieved) Shariful Haq Dalim, Lt Col (retd) SHMB Noor Chowdhury, Lt Col (retd) AM Rashed Chowdhury, Maj (relieved) Ahmed Shariful Hossain, Capt (retd) Abdul Majed, Capt (relieved) Kismat Hasem and Capt (relieved) Nazmul Hossain.
The apex court affirmed the judgment of a Dhaka court which in 2004 convicted and sentenced Muslemuddin, Marfat Ali Shah and Abdul Hashem Mridha to death and handed down life term imprisonment to 12 others, including the eight.
Four others -- Lt Col (dismissed) Syed Farooq-ur Rahman, Lt Col (retd) Sultan Shahriar Rashid Khan, Maj (retd) Bazlul Huda and Maj (retd) AKM Mohiuddin Ahmed -- were executed in the Bangabandhu assassination case.
In 2011, the SC exempted Farooq, Shahriar, Mohiuddin and Bazlul Huda from the jail killing case as they were already executed.
In August 2008, the High Court upheld the capital punishment of Muslemuddin and acquitted Marfat and Hashem. It also acquitted Farooq, Shahriar, Mohiuddin and Bazlul Huda.
The HC did not say anything about the eight others who got life term imprisonment from the SC on April 30, 2013.