Canada is a safe haven for terrorists, murderers, and other such criminals for whom justice is waiting in their home country. One such criminal being shielded and fed by Canada is the assassin of Bangladesh’s founding father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Noor Chowdhury is a self-confessed killer of Bangabandhu and is wanted by Bangladesh where justice awaits him. However, a Canadian law safeguards such convicts against deportations particularly to those countries where they could face capital punishment.
Noor Chowdhury was one among troops of junior Pakistani Army officers who assassinated 21 members of the family of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on 15 August 1975 sending shockwaves across the world. Noor Chowdhury shot multiple rounds at Rahman in his Dhamondi bungalow in Dhaka.
The only two surviving members of Rahman’s family were his daughters, Sheikh Hasina, now Bangladesh’s longest-serving Prime Minister, and Sheikh Rehana. They survived the attack because they were both in Germany at the time.
Noor Chowdhury was convicted and sentenced to death in absentia in 2010 along with 11 other suspects. But he has been in hiding in Canada. And despite repeated attempts by Sheikh Hasina’s government to appeal to Canada for his extradition, the Trudeau government continues to shield Chowdhury.
“The Sheikh Hasina government has made all the efforts: through requests, diplomatic channels and meetings at the highest level. But all our requests evoked the same reply from Canada. Chowdhury will receive capital punishment in Bangladesh and there is nothing called capital punishment in Canadian courts. Is it too much to ask for justice, when the killers themselves have admitted to their crime?” says Padma Shri Lieutenant Colonel (Retd) Qazi Sajjad Ali Zahir, a highly decorated officer who served in the Bangladeshi Army.
Bangladeshi journalist Saleem Samad recalled his meeting with Canadian Minister for Justice Irwin Kotler on the issue in the early 2000s but was met with a clear no. “I met him after making an appointment. After pronouncing that Bangladesh’s courts were politicised, Kotler told me two very important things that I still remember vividly. One, Canadian law won’t permit a person who is likely to be facing a death sentence to be extradited to his native country. Second, it is highly unlikely, particularly when they have doubts over the independence of the judiciary and the person has sought political asylum in Canada,” Samad reportedly narrated.
A report quoting sources said that the Trudeau government will not move back from its position on the matter of extradition. Last year, too, Bangladesh had urged Canada to find an alternative way around the law to deport Chowdhury.
Reports claim Dhaka could move Ottawa on the matter once again. In an interview with PTI in August this year, Bangladesh Law and Justice Minister Anisul Huq said that the country was negotiating a return of the two killers of Bangabandhu – Noor Chowdhury from Canada and Rashed Chowdhury from US
Rashed Chowdhury is also a self-confessed killer of the founding father of Bangladesh. He has been residing in the United States since 1996.
“They killed the father of the nation and 17 members of his family…Given the heinous nature of the crime, we have tried to convince Canada to return Noor Chowdhury,” the minister said.
On 21 September, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in clear words said that Canada has a growing reputation as a safe haven for terrorists, extremists, and organised crime. This came amidst the ongoing tensions between Canada and India sparked by the Trudeau administration by expelling a senior Indian diplomat and accusing Indian agents of the murder of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
India reciprocated by expelling a senior Canadian diplomat. Trudeau’s remarks have encouraged terrorist elements like Gurpatwant Pannun of Sikhs For Justice (SFJ), the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), and the World Sikh Organisation (WSO). India has since issued an advisory to its citizens in Canada to remain vigilant and has temporarily suspended visa operations for Canadians owing to a potential security threat to its embassy staff.