Over the past 16 years, Interpol has issued red notices against 80 Bangladeshis who are fugitives abroad. So far Interpol has handed over 16 of these persons to Bangladesh.
The process of handing over another person, nabbed in Italy, is underway. Also, Interpol has withdrawn the notice issued against two others.
Meanwhile, red notices issued against two persons were withdrawn due to political reasons.
Bangladesh police has no clear information on whether there are any initiatives to arrest the remaining 63.
The fugitives against whom the red notices have been issued include killers of Bangabandhu, others who have been sentenced in the 21 August grenade attack, those accused for crimes against humanity, human trafficking, rape, killing, money laundering and other crimes.
According to the police headquarters, Interpol’s main function is to assist international police. There are 194 member states of Interpol at present.
NCB (National Central Bureau) of Bangladesh’s police headquarters works with Interpol. Interpol issues notices in 8 categories. The red notice is for serious criminals, green notice for suspected criminals, yellow notice for missing persons, black notice for unidentified bodies, orange notice for warning and purple notice for information on criminals.
The eighth category is a special notice of the Interpol and the UN Security Council. Interpol’s constitution forbids it from issuing notices against political or religious or ethnic personalities or persons serving in the military. Most of the Bangladeshis facing the red notice are fugitives in India, Nepal, Malaysia, US, Italy, Japan, UK, UAE, South Africa and a few other countries.
A red notice is not an international arrest warrant. It simply hinders the accused person from going to another country.
At the request of Bangladesh, on 8 January Interpol issued a red notice against Prasanta Kumar (PK) Halder, the former managing director of International Leasing and Financial Services. There are allegations against PK Halder for filching Tk 35 billion (Tk 3500 crore) from various financial institutions.
Those handed over
Two Bangladeshi human traffickers, facing the red notices, were handed over on 14 January. One of them, Zafar Iqbal (38) of Kishoreganj, was caught by police in Italy. The other, Shahadat Hossain (29) of Madaripur, was caught in Dhaka. He is accused in the case involving 30 persons, including 26 Bangladeshis, being shot dead by human traffickers in the town Mizdah of Libya in May last year. CID had approached Interpol last November for help in catching 6 human traffickers, including these two.
Nazmul Maksud Murad, accused of attempting to kill prime minister Sheikh Hasina, was brought back to Bangladesh from the US with the help of Interpol. He was accused in the case of opening fire at Sheikh Hasina and for explosions on 19 August 1989 at Bangabandhu’s residence on Road 32 Dhanmondi in Dhaka.
Mohammad Hridoy alias Mosen Mohammad, the main accused in the arms recovery case of Rupganj in Narayanganj, had fled to Qatar. On 29 August 2019, the Qatar law enforcement detained him and later sent him back to Bangladesh. Interpol helped in sending back Nur Hossain who was accused in the Narayanganj seven-murder case, from India to Bangladesh. Nur Hossain has been sentenced to death.
Others who have been sent back from various countries include Md Abul Kalam from the US, Ariful Islam (Shimul) from South Africa, Nannu Miah from Iran, Abdur Rahman and Peyar Ahmed (Akash) from Malaysia, Mohammad Faruk Hossain from Singapore, Abu Taher Al Nur and Kamrul Islam from Saudi Arabia, Abdur Rahman Miah from New Zealand, Chandu Mohammad Sadruddin from India, and Sayeed and Tarek Ahmed from the United Arab Emirates.
Assistant inspector general (AIG) of NCB at the police headquarters’ branch, Mohiul Islam, told Prothom Alo that till now 16 fugitives had been sent back. One was caught in Italy. He said efforts were on to bring back from Thailand the accused in the 21 August grenade attack case, Hanif Mohammad, owner of Hanif Paribahan.
63 still could not be brought back
It had not been possible to bring back five persons accused in the killing of Bangabandhu and family. There are red notices against them. They are Nur Chowdhury, Rashed Chowdhury, Shariful Huq Dalim, Khandkar Abdur Rashid and Risaldar Moslem Uddin. Rashed Chowdhury is in Los Angeles, USA and Nur Chowdhury in Toronto, Canada. NCB could not confirm the location of the other three.
Facing a red notice, top leader of the banned militant outfit Harkatul Jihad, Tajuddin, is an accused in the 21 August grenade attack and is presently in South Africa.
There is also a red notice against Abul Kalam who faced death sentence for crimes against humanity. Red notices have also been issued against top criminals Trimati Subrata Bain, Khandkar Tanveer Islam alias Joy, Hossain Nabi alias Nabi Hossain, Jishan, Kala Jahangir, Abdul Jabbar alias Munna, Golam Faruk (Ovi), Omar Faruk alias Kochi, Shahadat Hossain, Khurshid Alam, Prakash Kumar Biswas and Zafar Ahmed alias Manik.
Speaking to Prothom Alo, member of parliament and former inspector general of police Nur Mohammad, said it is easier to bring criminals back from abroad if there is an extradition treaty.
It is very difficult to send criminals back without this treaty. No country follows the law of other countries in this regard. However, if the Bangladesh government, the foreign ministry and the police work together with the embassies of the concerned countries, this will expedite the extradition process.
*This report appeared in the print and online edition of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten for the English edition by Ayesha Kabir