The government is confident of bringing back M Khairuzzaman, a former high commissioner who had been accused in a case over the killing of four national leaders, from Malaysia ‘at the earliest’, Md Shahriar Alam has said.
The state minister for foreign affairs made the remarks on Monday amid a legal battle waged by Khairuzzaman’s wife Rieta Rahman to stop his deportation following detention, reports bdnews24.com.
“We are confident and we firmly believe from the first day [of Khairuzzaman’s detention] that we will be able to bring him back at the soonest on the basis of our relations with the Malaysian government,” Shahriar said.
On Nov 3, 1975, four of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s closest associates -- Syed Nazrul Islam, Tajuddin Ahmad, M Mansur Ali and AHM Quamruzzaman -- known as the four national leaders, were killed at Dhaka Central Jail.
In 1975, after Bangabandhu’s assassination, Khairuzzaman joined the foreign ministry.
When Awami League rose to power in 1996, he was recalled from the Philippines where he was acting ambassador. On Sept 24 of that year, he was arrested and his retirement was made compulsory.
A court dropped him from the Jail Killing case in 2004. He was made a high commissioner in 2007, under the caretaker government, and sent to Malaysia.
In 2009, after the Awami League came back to power, they recalled him to Bangladesh to stand trial. But Khairuzzaman secured a UN refugee card and remained in Kuala Lumpur.
Malaysian police arrested him on Feb 9 this year for breaching immigration law and put him in a detention centre where illegal migrants are lodged before deportation to their home countries. A Malaysian minister described the grounds for the arrest as “an offence committed and a request by his home country”.
Khairuzzaman’s wife Rieta filed a petition with the Kuala Lumpur High Court challenging his arrest and the attempt to deport him.
Shahariar on Monday alleged the BNP and the Jamaat-e-Islami, along with Khairuzzaman’s family, are trying to involve international groups in exchange for money in their bid to stop his deportation.
Rieta’s father Mashiur Rahman Jadu Mia was a leader of the National Awami Party and served BNP founder Ziaur Rahman as a cabinet minister. She also contested in the 2018 parliamentary polls with BNP’s ticket but lost.
Khairuzzaman still carries a UNHCR card and thus cannot be deported, a lawyer appointed by Rieta said.
Shahriar said the host government can cancel such documents. “Definitely many wrong pieces of information will be found in his application, or something that he hid deliberately,” the state minister said.
“And from here, we at the foreign ministry recalled him, but he did not return as expected.
Khairuzzaman did not settle many issues related to financial audit at the high commission, according to Shahriar.
“There are many such things that are enough to strengthen the legal process,” he said.
Shahriar said the government will contact the UN and discuss the issue with the global body if necessary. “We believe the UN will understand the matter. Because he doesn’t deserve refugee status,” he said, describing Khairuzzaman as a solvent person and “wanted criminal”.
He added the government was not thinking about appointing a lawyer to fight the legal battle started by Rieta because she had taken the Malaysian government to court, which will take the legal steps.