This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Enabling Evasion of Justice

"Chowdhury has been convicted of a crime of great significance for the people of Bangladesh ... "
"The information sought is necessary to enable the Government of Bangladesh to assess its policy options and the basis of negotiations with the Government of Canada."
Federal Court application, Torys LLP, Toronto

"In September 2015, these issues were discussed in a meeting between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed ..."
"As a result of that meeting, a further meeting of Canadian and Bangladesh officials was held in April 2017."
Application for Judicial review

"In those discussions, the Government of Bangladesh has emphasized the significance of the assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman -- the worldwide effort on the part of the Government of Bangladesh to bring Chowdhury and the other fugitives from that assassination [and coup] to justice, and the importance of obtaining Canada's co-operation to uphold the rule of law and avoid becoming a safe haven for people who have committed crimes abroad."
Mizanur Rahman, High Commissioner to Canada, Bangladesh High Commission
Bangladesh’s Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the country’s founding father, who was killed along with most of his family members in a military coup in 1975. AFP/Getty Images

Canada's legal system extends protection to people living in Canada, even when government agencies attempt to remove people who have been denied status in the country by allowing them to speak of their Canadian "Charter Rights", and enabling them under Canadian law to challenge official decisions for their removal, through a series of judicial appeals that can take years to revolve through the justice system, so that even people who have been accused, tried and found guilty of murder find safe haven in Canada.

One such case is that of Nur Chowdhury who with a number of other men in their native Bangladesh conspired to assassinate Bangladesh's first president, gunning him down, alongside most of his family in August of 1975. A trial ensued in 1998, where 15 men stood trial and were convicted in Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's murder. His daughter, all these years later was elected the leader of Bangladesh and she is determined that all her father's murderers face justice.

Of those brought to trial and in the wake of appeals, there were three acquittals, five of those found guilty were executed in 2010. The urgent goal of seeing that one of the men known to have personally fired the firearms that killed the current Bangladeshi Prime Minister's father remains unresolved. Though convicted in absentia, Nur Chowdhury has so far eluded punishment for his crime. He has been living in Canada since 1996, while Bangladesh urges the government of Canada to extradite him in the name of universal justice.

This month a new Federal Court application was filed for the purpose of forcing the federal government to publicly disclose Chowdhury's legal status at the present time; at the very least release his status data to the government of Bangladesh. This is a man whose refugee claim had been rejected by Canadian authorities as a result of his role in the assassination. And he continues to evade deportation because of the Bangladesh court handing down a death sentence for his crime.

The Supreme Court of Canada has made it illegal for Canada to deport those who on their return to their country of origin are likely to be tortured or executed, since Canada has long since abolished the death penalty itself. A loophole in the law states that in "exceptional circumstances" the ban on deportation under these circumstances could be lifted.

The largest English-language newspaper in Bangladesh reported the Bangladesh Prime Minister's press secretary reporting that during he G7 meeting that took place in Quebec recently Sheikh Hasina "called for Trudeau's personal initiative for immediate extradition of the self-confessed killer, one of the two assassins who directly shot Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman dead". Trudeau is reported to have "expressed his compassion to Sheikh Hasina", informing her that "Canadian officials were quietly engaged in dealing with the issue".

Justin Trudeau's commiseration is somewhat lacking in commitment, it would seem, since government authorities have declined to share information on the current immigration status of the man Bangladesh wants returned to face justice, including whether he had been granted a pre-removal risk assessment representing a formal mechanism exempting anyone from deportation.

When Bangladesh's High Commissioner to Canada wrote to Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen with the request that he be apprised of Chowdhury's risk assessment status, the request was denied on the grounds that Chowdhury had a reasonable expectation of privacy, and that Canada and Bangladesh have no formal agreement on information sharing. When Commissioner Rahman responded that a special information sharing agreement be negotiated, privacy grounds were cited to rebuff him once again.

Which caps off a decade of 'discussion' between the two countries in an effort to resolve this issue of such great importance to Bangladesh and to which Canada has been rather shabbily responding.

Nur Chowdhury, now living in Canada, was convicted in absentia of killing Bangladesh’s first president, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.File

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