US & World

Judge Hears Plea from Bangladeshi Facing Deportation

A former Bangladeshi diplomat living in Los Angeles is waging another last-minute effort to stop his deportation. Mohiuddin Ahmed faces execution in Bangladesh for a crime he says he didn't commit. Federal authorities label him a terrorist.

Frank Stoltze: Outside the Roybal Federal Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles, Sabrina Mohiuddin agonizes over the plight of her father.

Sabrina Mohiuddin: I cannot understand why they are so hell bent on taking my father and deporting him to Bangladesh, and stand by and watch him being executed.

Stoltze: Ten years ago, a Bangladeshi court convicted Mohiuddin Ahmed in absentia of helping assassinate the country's first president in 1975. Ahmed, an army major at the time, says he only supervised a roadblock. A U.S. immigration judge denied him political asylum, saying Ahmed failed to prove he didn't get a fair trial. The judge called Ahmed, a former Circuit City TV salesman in West L.A., a terrorist and a security threat. Federal courts upheld the decision. Attorney Joseph Sandoval represents Ahmed.

Joseph Sandoval: We're not arguing that he shouldn't be deported anymore. We've made those arguments and we've lost. We're arguing that we should be given an opportunity to have a third country step in for humanitarian reasons. And we have never been told why they will not allow this.

Stoltze: Sandoval says Canada is willing to accept his client. But the U.S. government has refused to go along, despite appeals from Amnesty International and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. Sandoval says the United States wants to maintain good relations with Bangladesh, where many people are paying close attention to Ahmed's case.

Many of the estimated 50,000 Bangladeshis in Southern California are also following the case. Some want him executed. For Ahmed's daughter Sabrina, a 30-year-old investment banker in Los Angeles, it's painful.

Sabrina Mohiuddin (crying): I don't understand. I'm confused. How could anybody just watch this man be executed for a crime he didn't commit?

Stoltze: Sixty-one-year-old Ahmed Mohiuddin remains detained at an immigration detention center in San Pedro. His attorneys hope to win an extension of a temporary stay of deportation, and to convince the U.S. government to allow him to move to Canada. They concede it's a long shot.