Mohiuddin Ahmed spoke exclusively to KPCC's Frank Stoltze Monday in a telephone interview from the Immigration Detention Center in San Pedro. Ahmed said he did not plan the coup, but he did support the removal of Bangladesh's first leader Sheikh Mujib Rahman, a man he said had become a dictator.
Mohiuddin Ahmed: He declared all political parties banned, all newspapers banned, leaving no opportunity for the people to change this government through any democratic means. But I do not believe that they had any plan to kill him.
Frank Stoltze: And when did you find out about the coup?
Ahmed: My knowledge and my participation was on the very night it happened, because one or two hours before, I came to know about it.
Stoltze: Apparently they brought a witness forward during the trial that said that you were at the presidential palace, and escorting the president, before he was killed.
Ahmed: No. I had nothing to do with the killing of Sheikh. I was given a responsibility to create a roadblock in one of the streets, main streets in Dhaka.
Stoltze: You were put on trial, and you were convicted of participating in the coup. You do not believe that you got a fair trial?
Ahmed: Not at all. The witnesses that was produced before the court were tutored and were tortured to speak some certain things that they wanted. And then the government itself, bringing out demonstration and frustration, with sticks and all other weaponry in their hands, and chanting slogans that if any judge does not give verdict the way they expect, he has no place in this country.
Stoltze: What do you think of how the U.S. government has handled your case?
Ahmed: I have nothing to complain about, except that judge. I do not think he had any knowledge of the history of that period. Now I, in hindsight, I only wish they assigned a very seasoned officer who had the knowledge of history, who had the knowledge of the geopolitical situation at the time, who had the knowledge of how other countries, particularly in southeast Asia, how they function.
Stoltze: How are you getting through this?
Ahmed: I have one thing in my mind, that I am very clean, and very straightforward, and upright person. I have nothing to be afraid of. If I have to die, I have to die. Death, someone dead. Today or next day, it will come one day. Many people have given their lives because they became victims of politics, victims of so many other things, so I am considering maybe I am one of those victims.