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‘Tarique, Coco to be brought back’
Anisul-Haq law minister

‘Tarique, Coco to be brought back’

Government is initiating steps to bring back home BNP Senior Vice-chairman Tarique Rahman and his younger brother Arafat Rahman Coco for trial as they have been indicted on money laundering charges. This has been stated by Law Minister Anisul Huq on Wednesday.
He said that efforts were also on to bring back home the absconding killers of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to “absolve the nation of the stigma at least to some extent.”The law minister said this while talking to journalists at his Secretariat office after the first meeting of the 10-member high-powered taskforce formed to bring back all fugitives, staying in different foreign countries, to stand trial.
The government could do little for the extradition of six fugitive convicts after the Supreme Court on Nov 19, 2009, upheld the death sentence of 12 self-confessed killers of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
They are beyond the reach of law of this land despite diplomatic initiatives.
Of the six fugitive convicts, MA Rashed Chowdhury has been staying at Los Angeles in US while Nur Chowdhury is staying in Canada and Khandaker Abdur Rashid in Libya.
The government has no specific information about their whereabouts. It has also no clue whether Shariful Haque Dalim, Moslehuddin Khan and Abdul Mazed have already died.
War crimes convict Abul Kalam Azad, fled the country last year. He is believed to have fled either to India or Pakistan.
On Nov 4, 2013, absconding Al-Badr bosses Md Ashrafuzzaman Khan alias Nayeb Ali and Chowdhury Mueenuddin were sentenced to death by an International Crimes Tribunal for abducting and killing intellectuals at the fag- end of the country’s Liberation War in 1971.
Trying him in absentia, a Dhaka court on June 23, 2011, sentenced Arafat Rahman Coco, the younger son of former Prime Minister and BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, to six years’ rigorous imprisonment. It also fined him around Tk 390 million and ordered to confiscate the money he laundered.
Coco is currently staying in Thailand. His elder brother and Senior BNP Vice Chairman Tarique Rahman has several graft cases filed against him.
Law Minister Huq gave no direct answer when he was asked whether the taskforce would take any step to bring back home Tarique and Coco apart from the absconding killers of Bangabandhu.
“We’ve discussed about all the fugitives who have been hiding abroad. The meeting of the taskforce will be held regularly; now you can make your own interpretation.”
He said that although the taskforce was working since 2010 to bring back home the convicted killers of Bangabandhu, the ambit of its work has been extended now.
The government on March 25 this year constituted a high-level taskforce to bring back fugitives hiding abroad, including in India, to bring them to justice.
Several of the fugitives are sought for 1971 war crimes and killing Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman along with most of his family members in 1975.
The taskforce, headed by the law minister, will prepare a list of the Bangladeshi fugitives living abroad and take steps to find out their locations through reliable sources.
It will chalk out the ways to bring the fugitives back to the country to ensure their trial and monitor the entire repatriation process.
Haq said, “This taskforce is very important. It’s totally related to national security. But I can’t disclose the decisions that we’ve already taken for the sake of national security.”
The law minister said that there were legal complications in bringing Bangabandhu murder case convict Nur Chowdhury back home from Canada. “It will be difficult to bring him back from Canada.”
He further said that the government has no plan to revise the country’s existing death penalty provisions.
He said that the government had cancelled Tarique’s parole though he was still not sentenced in any case. He was acquitted in a money laundering case.
“The court has rejected his (Tarique) bail petition and directed him to appear before the court. Since he didn’t do so, he is a fugitive.”
The minister said that as per the conditions of the parole, Coco was supposed to inform his whereabouts to the Bangladesh Embassy in Bangkok after every three days but he did not do so. “So, he’s also a fugitive.”
Foreign Minister AH Mahmud Ali, State Minister for Home Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal and Inspector General of Police (IGP) Hasan Mahmud Khandakar were present at the