The Bangladesh government on Monday approved a proposal to amend its extradition treaty with India to simplify the process for handing over suspects wanted by both countries.
Following the approval, Bangladesh and India can now extradite suspects once police warrants are issued for them. In the past, the countries were required to furnish evidence against suspects even if arrest warrants had been issued for them.
The change was approved at a meeting of the federal cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in Dhaka.
The provision for extradition solely on the basis of arrest warrants was brought in by amending a section of the existing extradition treaty for convicted or under-trial suspects, said cabinet secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam.
The two neighbours had signed the landmark extradition treaty in January 2013 and it came into effect nearly nine months later.
Alam said the Bangladesh cabinet made the decision in response to a request from India to simplify a “complex” section of the treaty. “As per the amendment, there will be no need to show evidence against the accused,” he said.
“If a judge, magistrate or a tribunal in our country, or any other authority of this category, issues a warrant against a person who is Indian, we can seek extradition,” Alam said.
“A person from Bangladesh, who has a warrant against him here, may be living in India. India in that case will hand him over to Bangladesh for trial,” he added.
Home minister Asaduzzman Khan Kamal lauded the cabinet’s approval, saying it has made things “easier” when it comes to extradition.
The move for the simplification followed certain procedural complexities that surfaced at the time of handing over to India of United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) leader Anup Chetia.
Last November, Bangladesh handed over Chetia after he had spent 18 years in jail. Chetia’s jail term ended eight years before his handover to India, but Bangladesh could not send him back because of the absence of a deal on returning convicts to their countries.
Chetia could not be sent back under the 2013 treaty because it required the submission of evidence against him. Similar complications emerged in the case of extradition of Bangladeshi fugitive Nur Hossain, who was in jail in West Bengal and was wanted by Dhaka for seven murders.