US allegation against RAB, its fictional top brass: Justice Minister

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TBS Report

December 12, 2021, 2:05 PM

Last modification: December 12, 2021, 5:15 PM

Anisul Huq, Minister of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs

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Anisul Huq, Minister of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs

Justice Minister Anisul Huq has said US sanctions against the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and its seven current and former officials accused of human rights abuses are “fictitious”.

He said it was “extremely regrettable” to issue such a notice without offering any opportunity to defend the counterparties.

The minister also denied allegations of more than 600 extrajudicial executions and nearly 600 cases of disappearance in Bangladesh since 2009, while answering questions from journalists after inaugurating a workshop at the Judicial Administration Training Institute on Sunday.

Earlier on Friday, the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) imposed sanctions on a total of 10 organizations and 15 individuals from various countries, including Bangladesh, who have been implicated in human rights abuses. man and repression.

Among organizations and individuals, RAB, its former director general and current police chief Benazir Ahmed and current RAB chief Chowdhury Abdullah Al-Mamun face US ban under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act , EO 13818 citing “serious human rights violations related to their tenure. »

The other penalties are:

  • Chowdhury Abdullah Al-Mamun, DG, RAB, April 15, 2020 to date
  • Khan Mohammad Azad, Additional Managing Director (Operations), RAB, March 16, 2021 to present
  • Tofayel Mustafa Sorwar, Former Additional Managing Director (Operations), RAB, June 27, 2019 to March 16, 2021
  • Mohammad Jahangir Alam, Former Additional Managing Director (Operations), RAB, September 17, 2018 to June 27, 2019
  • Mohammad Anwar Latif Khan, Former Additional Managing Director (Operations), RAB, 28 April 2016 to 17 September 2018

Due to the sanctions, they will not get a US visa and may even have their US assets confiscated.

This is the first time that individuals or entities from Bangladesh have been subject to US sanctions.

Following the sanction order, a press release from the Foreign Ministry said that Bangladesh had expressed its displeasure to the US ambassador over the banning of the police chiefs and the RAB.

Ambassador Miller told the Foreign Secretary that he would convey the Bangladeshi government’s concerns to Washington, the press release added.

Later Saturday, Foreign Minister Dr. AK Abdul Momen said it would depend on the United States whether there would be any impact on Dhaka-Washington relations following the sanctions against the RAB and the individuals.

The moves are the latest in a series of sanctions timed to coincide with Biden’s two-day virtual Democracy Summit that ended Dec. 10. Bangladesh was not invited to the summit attended by over 100 world leaders.

Besides the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom also imposed sanctions on senior Myanmar officials for human rights abuses, while Washington imposed the first new sanctions on North Korea since the coming to power of Joe Biden.

The sanctions targeted, among others, Myanmar military entities during actions marking Human Rights Day.

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