Rozina Islam . Dhaka | Update: 22:27, Oct 13, 2018

Tarique Rahman

The government will send a request letter to the United Kingdom, in a bid, as officials say, to bring back BNP acting chairman Tarique Rahman after his life-term sentence in the 21 August grenade attack case.

As part of the process, according to the home minister, Dhaka will propose the UK government to sign an extradition treaty to exchange criminals between the two countries.

“We’ll once again send a letter (to the UK) to sign the extradition treaty,” home minister Asaduzzaman Khan told Prothom Alo.

He, however, admitted that the UK government earlier declined to sign the treaty.

BNP leader Tarique Rahman went to the UK for treatment in 2008, taking permission from the court. The minister said he has been living there under the coverage of political asylum.

Officials at the home, law and foreign affairs ministries acknowledged the difficulties in bringing back Tarique Rahman as the UK government has to abide by a number of legal obligations before sending back any convicted person.

The UK court, not the government, has the ‘final say’ in deciding such matters, the officials concerned pointed out.

In 2015, officials recalled, foreign minister AH Mahmood Ali sent letters to bring back Tarique Rahman, a fugitive in a number of cases. Also then, the UK government did not respond positively to Dhaka’s requst, officials pointed out.

Following the verdict in the 21 August grenade attack case on 10 October, the Awami League government is taking an initiative to bring back the fugitives, the officials said. There are 18 such fugitives in the case and the government will try to locate them said the officials.

“We would send letters to bring back fugitives in the grenade attack,” said the home minister.

Another convict in the 21 August attack case, BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia’s former political secretary Haris Chowhdury was reportedly seen in the UK.

The government will try to know from the UK government whether Haris Chowdhury has been living there, or has secured political asylum, officials said.

Maulana Tajuddin was indicted in the first charge-sheet submitted in 2008 in the grenade attack case. He is a brother of BNP-led alliance government’s deputy minister Abdus Salam Pintu. Pintu and his another brother have been convicted.

Pintu and Tajuddin have been sentenced to death. Another brother Ratul Ahmed aka Ratul Babu has been sentenced to life. Pintu is in jail while two others remain absconding.

Two others have been reportedly living in South Africa, according to officials. Interpol South Africa informed the Bangladesh authorities that Tajuddin has got political asylum over there.

Dhaka wants to sign extradition treaty with South Africa as well, according to the home ministry officials.

“The home ministry will take initiatives to bring back fugitives and we will extend legal support,” law minister Anisul Huq told Prothom Alo.

Former member of parliament Kazi Shah Mofazzal Hossain, sentenced to life, is reportedly staying in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The UAE authorities were also approached for extradition treaty, but to no avail.

Hanif Transport’s owner Md Hanif has been sentenced to death but his whereabouts could not be confirmed by the government.

Twin brothers Mahibul Muttakin and Anisul Mursalin, sentenced to life, have been languishing for a decade in Tihar jail in India.

Home minister Asaduzzaman said it would not be difficult to bring back them from India.

*This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Rabiul Islam.