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Extradition Act to bring back Bangabandhu’s killers

Published : Wednesday, 25 November, 2020 at 12:00 AM  Count : 304
Anika Nower Suvra

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is the father of the nation and he was the great leader of the liberation war in 1971. He was the inspiration for every freedom Fighter. Unfortunately, this charismatic leader was brutally killed on 15 August. They died almost 45 years ago. The President of Bangladesh Sheikh Mujibur Rahman died with his 20 family members on 15 August 1975.

15 people, involved in this murder, were given capital punishment by a lower court in 1998. Later, in 2009, the High Court upheld the death sentence of 12 people and gave a final verdict. Six of the convicts are still living in different countries. One of the criminals, Abdul Majed, had been hanged on 12 April 2020. But Major Nur Chowdhury was in Canada and Major Rashed Chowdhury was in the United States.

If a person commits crime and escapes from his country to another country, the accused person's home country will request another country to return the person to carry out legal procedure. Extradition is basically a process in which one country bring a convicted criminal back from another country under a bilateral agreement. If there is no treaty between countries, extradition procedure cannot be initiated.

There is a case law in which it was mentioned about the extradition treaty that is Factor vs Laubenheimer 290 US 276 (1933). This case law was signed by the Montevideo treaty in 1933. It provides that if any country has an extradition treaty relation with another country and requested him to give back their accused person, the other country will be bound to return the accused person to the requested country.

The reasons why it is important for returning Bangabandhu's murderer in our country are: Firstly, our government has figured out the truth because committing that type of crime occurs in our territory. Secondly, there is a lot of evidence of murderers. Thirdly, when a person commits a criminal offense in a territory, it's called a breach of law. That crime should not be unpunished. That's why it is very important to return them and punish them in our country.

Now the question is, is there any extradition treaty with Bangladesh-Canada, and the Bangladesh-USA-by which we can bring Major Nur Chowdhury and Major Rashed Chowdhury back.

First of all, we know that the extradition treaty applies to the law enforcement processes between two countries and it depends on their agreement. But two states' punishment should be the same for a criminal offense for returning the murderer. Bangladesh has an Extradition treaty with 2 countries for example Bangladesh and India, Bangladesh and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Bangladesh has no extradition treaty with Canada and the United States. Because, in Bangladesh the accused person for murder will get death penalty, life imprisonment, and fine under penal code 1860 in section 302.

But in Canada, the punished for murder only for life imprisonment, not the death penalty under the criminal code RSC,1985, sec 235. That's why our country could not return Major Nur Chowdhury. On the other hand, in the USA, there are 3 types of punishment for murder in their jurisdiction under Crimes and Criminal Procedure. US Code 1111 refers--35 years of life imprisonment, life without parole or death penalty.

Probably our country could return Major Rashed Chowdhury from the USA because their punishments are the same. But Bangladesh and the USA have no extradition treaty. For all of those reasons, Bangladesh could not return them. So, Bangladesh can sign an extradition treaty with the USA and Canada according to the section 4 of The Extradition Act, 1974 which provides an application of the act to non-treaty states under the Extradition Act, 1974. As a result, there is a possibility to return the two accused persons in our country for ensuring proper justice. If there is no proper justice for Bangabandhu's murderers, the Article of Bangladesh constitution 31 which is provided the right to protection of law will be violated.

To conclude, there is complexity of law and legal procedure among Bangladesh, Canada, and the United States. Because of no extradition treaty, there is less possibility to bring back the Bangabandhu's two murderers. But Major Nur Chowdhury and Rashed Chowdhury were seeking political asylum in Canada and the United States. But Canadian government authority has not granted Major Nur Chowdhury's application for political asylum. But after 8 years, the USA authority has granted Major Rashed Chowdhury's application for political asylum.

Bangladesh should take the necessary steps for extradition treaty with those particular countries.
The writer is a student, Department of Law and Human Rights, University of Asia Pacific

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