Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali has written to Finance Minister AMA Muhith, requesting him to sanction $200,000 for this purpose.
The finance minister said, “Funds will certainly be sanctioned to the foreign ministry for this (bringing back Chowdhury). But I am making inquiries about the amount needed. The money will be sanctioned after that.”
The foreign minister has written: “The prime minister has approved the proposal to allocate money to the foreign ministry to engage a Canadian law firm to bring back Noor Chowdhury in accordance with legal procedures and implement the sentence.”
Meanwhile, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal also gave his approval to the allocation of funds in his discussion with Muhith.
Bangabandhu’s killer Chowdhury currently lives in Canada.
The Canadian government follows an inflexible policy regarding the extradition of people to their own countries where they face death sentences.
In 2001, the Canadian Supreme Court clamped a strict ban on such deportation in the US vs Burns case.
As a result, Canada has cited its helplessness in meeting repeated request from Bangladesh for Chowdhury’s extradition.
The foreign minister said in the letter that his ministry had held discussions with several law firms on how to bring Chowdhury back to the country.
The letter says the verdict of the US vs Burns case states that Canada does not favour handing over a condemned convict except under very ‘special circumstances’.
The term ‘special circumstances’ had not been elaborated in the verdict, the foreign minister’s letters states, and adds the Canadian court might get an opportunity to explain it if a case for Noor Chowdhury’s extradition came up for hearing.
Legal experts have said that the gravity of Chowdhury’s crime might be treated as a ‘special circumstance’, Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali added.
The minister’s letter says the Canadian government had rejected Chowdhury’s request for asylum in that country as a refugee.
He has, however, appealed for ‘pre-risk removal assessment’ in which he has said the capital punishment awarded to him would be executed if he were to be extradited to Bangladesh.
Canadian lawyers have told the foreign ministry that such appeals are generally disposed of quickly. But Chowdhury’s has remained unresolved for six years, something they find unusual.
This is why the government feels, says the letter, Chowdhury’s extradition cannot be ruled out.
On Aug 15, 1975, the then President of Bangladesh Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and most of the members of his family were assassinated by a group of army officers and soldiers.
Noor Chowdhury was a Lt Colonel, who had been dismissed from service.
The court had sentenced 12 of those involved in the assassination to death.
Of them, five were hanged in 2010. Of the rest, one has died and the remaining six are still absconding.
Of the six on the run, Noor Chowdhury and Rashed Chowdhury are in Canada, says the government. But there is no clue to the whereabouts of the others.