Revealed: Toronto's Secret Resident—The Fugitive Behind a President's Assassination

A former Bangladeshi military officer, convicted in absentia for the 1975 assassination of Bangladesh's president and living in Toronto, raises questions about Canada's silence and inaction despite international and political pressures.

Nov 22, 2023 - 20:19
Nov 22, 2023 - 20:19
Revealed: Toronto's Secret Resident—The Fugitive Behind a President's Assassination
Sheikh Mujib's and Sheikh Hasina (CBC Archives)

In the quiet suburbs of Toronto, a seemingly ordinary man in his 70s, Nur Chowdhury, lives a life that belies his past. Convicted in absentia for the assassination of Bangladesh's President Sheikh Mujibur Rahman—the father of Bangladesh's current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina—in 1975 and the massacre of 21 of his family members, Chowdhury has resided in Canada for 27 years. Despite this, Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board issued a deportation order in 2006, but Canada has remained publicly silent on the matter, causing tension with Bangladesh.

The investigation, led by The Fifth Estate and published by the CBC, delves deep into Chowdhury's history and the implications of his presence in Canada. It uncovers the frustration of Bangladesh's high commissioner in Canada, Khalilur Rahman, over the lack of dialogue and action from the Canadian government. The story also highlights the emotional burden carried by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the daughter of the slain president, who questions Canada's stance on human rights in light of harboring Chowdhury.

The report further explores the complex relationship between Canada and Bangladesh, tracing back to Canada's early recognition of Bangladesh's independence in 1971. It reveals the political turmoil in Bangladesh leading up to the assassination, including Sheikh Mujib's increasingly authoritarian rule, which culminated in the coup.

Eyewitness accounts and police investigations in Bangladesh point unequivocally to Chowdhury's involvement in the assassination, despite his claims of innocence and being a victim of a political vendetta. His disappearance from a diplomatic post in Hong Kong in 1996 coincided with Hasina's rise to power, leading to his eventual settlement in Canada.

This case, now a decades-long saga, raises critical questions about justice, international relations, and Canada's role in an unresolved chapter of Bangladesh's history.

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