For Bangladeshi, U.S. Deportation Could Mean Death

A Bangladeshi man who used to sell televisions at a Circuit City store in Los Angeles is fighting deportation back to his home country. Mohiuddin Ahmed faces execution for his role in a 1975 coup that led to the assassination of Bangladesh's first president.

Ahmed was convicted of helping assassinate Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who led Bangladesh to independence from Pakistan nearly 40 years ago.

Ahmed admits that he supported the military coup, because, he says, the president had become a dictator. But he also swears that he didn't play a role in the assassination of Sheikh Mujib.

"I had nothing to do with killing of Sheikh," Ahmed said. "I was given the responsibility of creating a roadblock in one of main streets in Dhaka. I had no idea that he was shot."

For two decades after the coup, Ahmed served as a Bangladeshi diplomat. His fortunes changed in 1997, when the daughter of Sheikh Mujib came to power and put him and more than a dozen others on trial. Ahmed fled to the United States and was convicted in absentia; the court sentenced him to hang.

An immigration judge denied Ahmed political asylum, citing a State Department report that he "received due process" in his trial.

The judge noted that the coup involved the "brutal killing" of the president's family, including his 10-year-old son, and the overthrow of a democratically elected government. He declared Ahmed a terrorist and a security threat to the United States.

Ahmed is being held in an immigration detention center as a federal court reviews his case. His family hopes the U.S. government will allow Ahmed to go to a third country, instead of to his likely execution in Bangladesh.

From member station KPCC in Los Angeles, Frank Stoltze reports.

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