Maj (retd) AKM Mohiuddin Ahmed, an accused of Bangabandhu sheikh Mujibur Rahman murder, has ultimately been forced out of USA to face the death penalty he was awarded in abstentia in Bangladesh. Preceding his deportation, there was an intense debate about his involvement and his real crimes. I personally avoided this debate. I was torn from inside on this issue. All my life I wanted to see Bangabandhu killers get punished. But at the same time I abhore death penalty. For me it was emotionally demanding to see Mr Mohiuddin deported and at the same time very destabilizing to see a loving father or husband snatched away from his family to be killed by the establishment.
Anyway, not going back into that discussion, let me explain what I understood the root cause behind this stubborn deportation of Mohiuddin despite very high profile, strong and effective pressure not to do so. This America is a changed America after 9/11. Now America is dead against any sort of subversive activity like coup etc. Robust new laws have been enacted in this regard. The reason for repeated lose of Mohiuddin in appeals court is the news laws. Because the fact that AKM Mohiuddin Ahmed was admittedly part of a coup, he did not receive any mercy or consideration in the eye of US law.
An irony is that this deportation of Mohiuddin came at a time when Bangladesh hasn’t yet stopped cheering another coup. Whatever our media or the government says, 1/11 happened as a result of direct military action against the civilian leadership. This verdict of the world community has been made clear repeatedly by the outgoing US ambassador Ms Patricia Butenis.
Whatever Mohiuddin did or did not do in 1975, he and his gang were cheered by Bangladesh mass people for years. Still there are a lot of people who support the activities of the majors. Similarly whatever the current CTG is doing, there is a considerable public support for the military leadership responsible for 1/11 event. The same mass see Gen Masud, purportedly the mastermind of 1/11 and known for his famous or infamous slap on the face of President’s civilian press advisor breaking his nose, as the hero.
The deportation of Mohiuddin will definitely cause a feeling of discomfort among the popular heroes of today. The lesson they could take is that even they are wildly popular today, even all the plans may sound full-proof, even if they don’t foresee any real obstacle in their future plan, in the eye of the civilized democratic world, a coup is a coup and it is reprehensible act. They alreday have broken military ethics and oath, the civilized world has alreday decided, in other instances, not to tolerate. In this context, what Mohiuddin faces today, some current coup leaders may face the same fate tomorrow. However in the eye of a professional military standard, definitely the magnitude of the infringement is not the same between Mohiuddin and Masud and the retribution is not expected to be same either. And most importantly, Mohiuddin or may be even our ougoing leaders like Khaleda, Hasina are rousing examples that popular support may turn into public hatred in a day. I hope the junta running Bangladesh now takes this into account.