MNA Editorial Desk: The United States has taken an initiative to re-investigate the case of the political asylum of MA Rashed Chowdhury, the fugitive killer of Bangladesh’s Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
The country’s attorney general, William Barr, has reopened the case, according to a report published by US political web magazine ‘Politico’ on Friday (July 24).
Last month, William Barr secretly decided to reopen the much-discussed case, the report says.
Politico says that the Trump administration wants to hand over Rashed Chowdhury to Bangladesh by reopening the case which was settled about 15 years ago.
Rashed Chowdhury, convicted of killing Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his family on 15 August 1975, has been in the United States for a long time.
In 1998, 23 years after the assassination, he was sentenced to death by a lower court along with other fugitive convicts.
In 2009, the High Court upheld the death sentences of 12 convicts. Six of them were executed, but the others, including Rashed Chowdhury, remained fugitives overseas.
Rashed’s lawyers have confirmed to Politico that the case will be reopened. However, neither the Bangladesh embassy nor the US administration agreed to comment on the issue.
Rashed Chowdhury went to America in 1996 with his family on a tourist visa. Within two months they applied for political asylum. Nearly 10 years after he arrived in the US, an immigration judge granted him asylum. After that Bangladesh tried in various ways to bring him back to the country but failed.
And by last month, something had changed. On June 17, Barr directed the Board of Immigration Appeals to send Chowdhury’s case to him for review––making clear he would re-open the matter that had been decided more than a decade earlier. The document in which the attorney general made this move doesn’t include Chowdhury’s name. But it refers to “the matter of A-M-R-C,” using his full initials. And the details of the case described in Barr’s announcement match Chowdhury’s.
The report added that the Barr would first seek to revoke Rashed’s permission for political asylum. If successful, the return process will begin.
Barr’s move is the first step in a process that could result in Chowdhury losing asylum after more than a decade and potentially facing deportation.
Chowdhury’s legal team calls the move deeply concerning. Marc Van Der Hout of Van Der Hout LLP, who represents Chowdhury along with counsel from Morrison & Foerster’s San Francisco office, said they believe Barr has likely already decided to overturn the immigration court’s decision to grant him asylum. If Barr didn’t disagree with the judges’ findings in Chowdhury’s favor, Van Der Hout said, he would have no reason to reopen the case.