Update July 26, 2019

Dhaka 11-41 pm, 14-August, 2020

Ex-chief justice SK Sinha seeks asylum in Canada

Mirajul Moin Joy

Former chief justice Surendra Kumar Sinha has sought asylum in Canada, reports The Star at Toronto.

The Canadian media outlet also said he pleaded for the refuge to the Canada government ‘claiming that he was threatened for refusing to support political interference that would have given parliament greater power to axe dissenting judges.’

“I was being targeted because I was an activist judge. I delivered judgments that provoked bureaucrats, the establishment, politicians and even terrorists,” SK Sinha, who resigned on 11 November 2017, was quoted to have said in an interview with The Star.

President Abdul Hamid accepted his resignation on 13 November.

“I am the enemy of the country, the persona non grata,” he was also quoted in the report.

Earlier on 10 July this year, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) filed a case against the former chief justice, SK Sinha, and 10 others accusing them of accumulating illegal wealth and laundering Tk 40 million.

The ACC summoned five officials of Farmers Bank Ltd (now Padma Bank) on 25 September 2018 for interrogation over deposit of Tk 40 million in SK Sinha’s account with the bank.

On 6 May, ACC interrogated two businessmen — Md Shahjahan and Niranjan Chadra Saha — for allegedly taking Tk 40 million in loan from the bank using fake documents and depositing that in the bank account of a VVIP.

The Star report also said last year, Amnesty International raised concerns over the growing interference by the Bangladesh government in the judiciary, citing SK Sinha’s departure, and noting that human rights defenders were often harassed and intimidated, and “enforced disappearances persisted.”

Bangladesh’s high commissioner to Canada, however, denied Sinha’s accusations, it added.

“All I can tell you is since he left Bangladesh, he has been making these inaccurate statements about the government,” high commissioner Mizanur Rahman was quoted to have said to The Star in a phone interview from Ottawa.

“He is absolutely under no threat to return to the country. He is making these statements just to strengthen his refugee claim,” Mizanur was also quoted.

The Star also said, “Sinha flew to Canada to visit his other daughter who was studying in Manitoba, before heading to the United States in January 2018 and settling with his brother in New Jersey.”

He then made an asylum claim in the US.

However, the American asylum claim is still in process and his wife has also made a claim in Canada.

SK Sinha told the media that he made up his mind to come to Toronto recently when his wife fell very ill and wanted to be with their daughter in Canada.

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