The Bangladeshi government has made a formal request to Britain to extradite Tarique Rahman, the “fugitive” elder son of former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia.
Rahman, 45, is facing charges of corruption as well as planning a deadly grenade attack on current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Rahman has been living in self-imposed exile in London since 2008 and is said to be studying law whilst carrying out political activities.
A Dhaka court earlier declared him a “fugitive” as he failed to appear before the court despite repeated summons.
Rahman allegedly masterminded a fatal grenade attack in 2004 on a rally of the then opposition led by Hasina, killing 24 people.
The incumbent Prime Minister narrowly escaped the attack but sustained permanent hearing impairment.
Dhaka’s request came amid an intensified political deadlock pitting Hasina’s Awami League and the Bangladesh National Party (BNP) with fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami being its crucial ally over the electoral system while the election is due ahead of January 25, 2014.
A Dhaka court on May 26 issued a warrant ordering Rahman’s appearance to face trial on graft charges brought by the country’s Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) during the 2006-2008 emergency rules under an army-backed interim government when he was also put behind the bars.
A detained Rahman was allowed to take an overseas tour for medical treatment under a Supreme Court order at the fag end of the military-backed regime but he preferred to stay back in London as the subsequent general elections installed the ruling Awami League to power with three-fourths majority.
Rahman has maintained a low profile in exile but has appeared at a number of meetings of the UK Branch of the BNP urging expatriate Bangladeshis to call for independent monitoring of the up-coming election.
His deportation is certain to be a long-drawn out process as it will require clearance by the Home Office.
Rahman’s younger brother, Arafat Rahman Koko, is currently living in Bangkok apparently to evade justice for siphoning off a huge amount of money during the BNP’s rule from 2001 to 2007.the 2001-2007 BNP rule.
A recent World Bank report alluded to the alleged embezzlement by Koko of several million dollars as “an example of stealing national assets”.
BNP has maintained that the charges against the Zia family are politically motivated and is part of Prime Minister Hasina’s wider crackdown on dissent the victims of which have included Nobel laureate Mohammed Yunus, among others.BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS