Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid reportedly pledged to help send the former head of a national Islamist group back to his native Bangladesh should the official be convicted by a war crimes tribunal.
Reid, D-Nev., met with Bangladesh's Foreign Minister Dipu Moni this week in Las Vegas, the Dhaka Tribune reported. In the meeting, Reid pledged "extending all sorts of cooperation" to help repatriate Ashrafuzzaman Khan if he is found responsible for killing 11 intellectuals in the waning days of Bangladesh's 1971 war of independence.
Khan since became a U.S. citizen, and is president of the Imams of America association and past secretary general of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA). He remains on the executive board of ICNA's New York chapter. His trial began in July, and a parade of witnesses testified that Khan was present as the intellectuals – academics, journalists, doctors – were taken from their homes at gunpoint and later found executed. Khan is accused of leading a killing squad called Al-Badr, which was an offshoot of the Islamist group Jamaat-e-Islami.
Some witnesses say they recognized Khan and a co-defendant in pictures later published in newspapers, and others cite statements by a man who drove the mini-buses used in the round-up. Authorities also say they recovered a diary from Khan's home that included a list of the victims.
The descriptions of Reid's meeting with Moni did not specify what kind of assistance Reid could provide. His office has not responded to a request for comment.