The Federal Court of Canada in a judgement said Bangladesh’s application for information about the status of Bangabandhu’s killer Nur Chowdhury is valid and the disclosure of such information would not hamper the public interest.
This verdict is one step forward for Bangladesh High Commission in Canada to get pre-removal risk assessment (PRRA) information from the Canadian government. Judge James W O’Reilly delivered the judgement on Tuesday.
The Daily Star obtained a copy of the judgement.
Nur and his wife were granted visitor status in Canada in 1996. Later, they applied for refugee protection.
He was tried and convicted in 1998 in absentia as a co-conspirator in the 1975 coup in which Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and most of his family members were killed.
In 2002, Nur and his wife were found to be excluded from refugee protection for having committed a serious non-political crime. Then, they were found to be inadmissible to Canada for serious criminality in 2006. In 2009, Nur requested a PRRA.
The Bangladesh government has been in discussions with Canadian officials about Nur’s status in Canada and has expressed concern about the delay relating to his PRRA application since 2010.
In 2018, the high commissioner of Bangladesh to Canada wrote to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship requesting to disclose, in the public interest, information about the status of Nur’s PRRA application and his immigration status in Canada.
But the minister refused saying that there was no information-sharing agreement between the two countries.
Bangladesh sought judicial review of the minister’s decision to disclose the status of Nur’s PRRA application. In response, the Canadian minister as well as Nur said Bangladesh’s request was premature and non-justiciable.
But the justice rejected Nur and the Canadian minister’s claim in the verdict.
“In my view, Bangladesh’s application for judicial review should be allowed because the minister failed to give serious consideration to the public interest that would be served if the information sought were disclosed,” the justice said in the observation of the verdict.