Former DGFI No. 2 seeking asylum in the USA

Crossposted from Shadakalo Blog:

Jun 9, 2009

Update 1: The Daily Star is reporting that Brig. Bari is denying applying for asylum.

“I did not apply for any political asylum as it needs huge money and it is also difficult,” Bari said in reply to a question.

Former deputy director general of DGFI and more recently the defense attache at the Bangladesh Embassy in Washington DC, Brig Gen Chowdhury Fazlul Bari, has been in the news lately for his refusal to return to Bangladesh.

Brig. Bari was involved in the arrest and torture of a number of politicians, academics and journalists during the last interim government. With the recent arrest of two retired major generals, it is clear that the indemnity Army officers enjoyed in Bangladesh is cracking, and it is time to pay the piper.

Brig. Bari has served in the Washington embassy for just under a year, and he was recalled to Bangladesh in April. But he used various excuses to delay the return until now, although he left his job in May. It is important to note that he has not been charged with any crime.

BDNews24 is reporting that he has asked for political asylum in the United States. A straight reading of the law puts Brig. Bari’s chances of success at slim to zero, because he has to prove that his life will be in danger, or that he may be tortured, if he is forced to return to Bangladesh. This will be one of the ultimate ironies of Bangladesh politics if he cites examples of torture based on his own intimate knowledge of the subject.

This is probably the biggest obstacle he faces:

An asylum seeker will be barred from a grant of asylum pursuant to INA § 208(b)(2) if it is determined that he or she:

  • Ordered, incited, assisted, or otherwise participated in the persecution of any person on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion;

But the immigration judge who will rule on this application has no incentive to seek out information. It is the job of the attorney working for US Immigration to show why the asylum should not be granted. It is unlikely he or she will have access to list of Mr. Bari’s misdeeds unless the government of Bangladesh informs US Immigration. The Bangladesh Foreign Ministry should immediately send a letter, via the US State Department, to the US Department of Homeland Security, under which US Immigration operates, enumerating why Mr. Bari should not be granted asylum, and why he should be handed over to Bangladesh.

And Brig. Bari: You tortured Tasneem Khalil and untold others. You threatened Prof. Anwar Hossain that even light could not escape the hole you threw him into. Surely your buddies in the Army will treat you better.

Go back and face the music. Show the country you can be a man without the uniform protecting you.


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