Bangladesh’s premier slams US for sheltering killer of country’s founding leader

Photo Credit: Anadolu Agency (AA)

Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in a rare straightforward public speech has slammed the US for sheltering a convicted killer of her country’s founding leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

“While they (the US) always talk about humanity and human rights, how do they shelter the convicted killer of Bangladesh’s father of the nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman?” Hasina was quoted as saying in a visual report by a Bangla Language private television channel, Shomoy TV, on Saturday.

The Bangladeshi prime minister was seen publicly speaking at a gathering of the leaders and activists of the ruling Awami League party’s US chapter in Virginia state on Friday.

She also accused the US of sheltering the 1971 War criminals and their children, as well as many other convicted killers who, she claims, are conspiring against Bangladesh and are living in the US.

In a separate report published on Saturday by the state-run Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha news agency, Hasina said her government will continue efforts to repatriate fugitive MA Rashed Chowdhury, who was sentenced to death by the country’s court.

“We are holding talks with the US on a regular basis and requesting that the country return Rashed Chowdhury,” the premier said.

To date, the US administration has made no specific statements regarding the repatriation of the convicted murderer.

US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen E Biegun assured to extend support for Chowdhury’s repatriation during his visit to Dhaka in Oct. 2020, according to a statement released by Bangladesh’s Foreign Ministry after his meeting with the country’s leadership.

Biegun, however, had not discussed the issue in public.

Rahman, the architect of independent Bangladesh, was assassinated on Aug. 15, 1975, along with most of his family members, by a group of army personnel who blamed him for destroying democracy and establishing a one-party lead autocratic ruling in the country, which was contrary to the spirit of the 1971 Liberation War.

His daughters, Sheikh Hasina, now prime minister, and Sheikh Rehana, who were abroad at the time, survived the assassination.

Five of the 12 condemned convicts of the Mujib killing case were executed on Jan. 27, 2010, a year after the Awami League-led alliance government retook power.

Chowdhury and his family have been residing in the US since 1996 when the then-President Clinton administration granted them asylum.

After the assassination of Rahman, the then-martial law regime enacted the controversial “Indemnity Ordinance 1975” in September of that year, granting impunity to all those involved in the assassination.

The Awami League government, however, repealed the act in 1996 and began the judicial process regarding the much-discussed killing in the country’s history.​​​​​​​

-AA

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