The chairman of the bishops’ Committee on International Policy sent an appeal this week on behalf of Mohuiddin “Din” Ahmed to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.
“I am not in a position to make a judgment as to his guilt or innocence,” Bishop Wenski said, “but two things are clear: Responsible people are raising serious questions regarding his case, and if returned to Bangladesh, he will face the death penalty.”
In 1996, Ahmed, along with other former military officers, was convicted of involvement in the 1975 murder of Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Mujibur Rahman during a coup d’état.
Ahmed, who denied the charges, remained in California on his diplomatic passport and applied in vain for asylum in the United States.
He was scheduled to be deported as early as last weekend. He has asked the United States to deport him to Canada where he has family.
Bishop Wenski noted that a bill has been introduced in Congress seeking relief for Ahmed, and that 15 U.S. Senators have written to the Department of Homeland Security expressing concerns about the deportation.
The bishop continued: “I respectfully request that the Department of Homeland Security act immediately to prevent a possible miscarriage of justice that deportation of Din Ahmed to Bangladesh would represent.
“The Catholic Church rejects the use of the death penalty because there are alternative means of protecting society. Out of respect for the sanctity of human life, I ask that Mr. Din Ahmed not be deported.”