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Chetia's repatriation unlikely under proposed deal: Dhaka

Chetia's repatriation unlikely under proposed deal: Dhaka

Author: Bureau Report
Publication: Zeenews.com
Date: September 12, 2009
URL: http://www.zeenews.com/news562826.html

Bangladesh has said that top ULFA leader Anup Chetia, now in prison here, cannot be extradited to India as demanded by New Delhi as the proposed bilateral deal for exchange of prisoners covers only those who are serving jail terms.

However, Foreign Minister Dipu Moni has made it clear that Dhaka will not allow its soil to be used for anti-India activities.

Her remarks are significant as India has said several times that many of the top ULFA leaders including its Commander-in-Chief Paresh Baruah are holed up in Bangladesh.

Chetia, who was arrested in 1997 for intruding into Bangladesh, has completed his term, the Daily Star said.

"To my knowledge, he (Chetia) completed his term and therefore will not come under the purview of the treaty," Moni told newsmen yesterday after her return from India.

Sources said Chetia continues to be held in prison by authorities for "security reasons". India and Bangladesh do not have an extradition treaty currently.

A senior Foreign Ministry official today said the proposed treaty would not help extradition of separatist United Liberation of Asom general secretary Chetia.

"As she (Dipu Moni) said yesterday, the proposed treaty is meant for Bangladeshi and Indian prisoners serving terms currently in each other's jails," he said.

But the deal has a rider, that it is only if the prisoners want to serve the remaining terms of their imprisonments in jails in their own countries, that the repatriation can take place.

Moni had told newsmen replying to a question that there was no scope under the deal, expected to be signed during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's forthcoming India visit, to handover the ULFA leader to New Delhi authorities.

Moreover, she said jailed Indian or Bangladeshi prisoner detained in each other's country would have to apply for extradition to serve the rest of their term in their own country under the treaty.

Police had arrested Chetia from a Dhaka residence where he was living during the Awami League's previous 1996-2001 regime and subsequently served a jail term here for entering the country with fake documents.

Officials said he was still in a jail for "security reasons" after the expiry of his term as he preferred to stay back in Bangladesh fearing reprisals in his country.

Bangladesh and India do not have an extradition treaty for exchange of wanted persons but security agencies exchanged several wanted gangsters and "criminals" in the past two years as friendly gestures.

Dhaka, however, reiterated its stand during Moni's India visit that it would not allow its territory to be used by these militants or separatist outfits.

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