Dhaka trashes HR violation allegations against IGP, 6 others

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Dhaka, Dec 11: Turning down the allegations of human rights violation against seven present and former officials of RAB, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan on Saturday said every incident of HR violation is investigated properly in Bangladesh and legal action taken accordingly.

“If any incident of human rights violation is reported, investigations are carried out through magistrates. Legal action is taken here if any government agency violates human rights,” he said.

The minister came up with the remarks while talking to reporters after attending a programme at Dhaka Wasa in the city.

“The US has not imposed the sanctions neutrally. They did it based on exaggerated news. Maintaining law and order is a challenging task in Bangladesh,” he said.

“Drug peddlers use firearms for self-defence that leads to gunfights with the members of law enforcement agencies, causing casualties,” he added.

On Friday, the United States imposed human rights-related sanctions on Benzir Ahmed, the current Inspector General of the Bangladesh Police and former Director General of Bangladesh’s Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and six other individuals on the occasion of International Human Rights Day.

The US Department of State announced visa restrictions on Benazir Ahmed what it says due to his “involvement in gross violation of human rights” making him ineligible for entry into the United States.

RAB as an entity, Benzir Ahmed, and six other officials were designated by the Department of the Treasury under the Global Magnitsky sanctions programme in connection with serious human rights abuse, said the US Department of State.

Miftah Uddin Ahmed, Lieutenant Colonel and former commanding officer of RAB Unit 7, was designated, according to the US Department of State.

The US Department of State mentioned the May 2018 “extrajudicial killing” of Teknaf City Municipal Councilor Ekramul Haque in Teknaf, Cox’s Bazar district.

The following individuals are designated pursuant to Executive Order (EO) 13818: Chowdhury Abdullah Al-Mamun, Director General, RAB, Benzir Ahmed, former Director General, RAB, January 2015 to April 14, 2020, Khan Mohammad Azad, Additional Director General (Operations), RAB, March 16, 2021 to present, Tofayel Mustafa Sorwar, former Additional Director General (Operations), RAB, June 27, 2019 to March 16, 2021, Mohammad Jahangir Alam, former Additional Director General (Operations), RAB, September 17, 2018 to June 27, 2019 and Mohammad Anwar Latif Khan, former Additional Director General (Operations), RAB, April 28, 2016 to September 17, 2018, according to the US Department of Treasury.

The EO 13818 means blocking of property in the US. It is the first time individuals or entities from Bangladesh have been the subject of US sanctions.

They were announced as part of a raft of new rights-abuse sanctions on senior officials and entities in eight countries, with targets ranging from a Chinese firm specializing in facial recognition technology to a giant cartoon studio in North Korea.

The measure was partly supported by the UK and Canada, although not in the case of the Bangladeshi officials or RAB.