Today, Senator Leahy has issued a strong statement on State Sponsored Criminality in Bangladesh in the U.S. Senate Congressional Record. In his statement, Senator Leahy expresses concern about the “enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrests, unfair trials, extrajudicial executions, and other flagrant violations of the rule of law by the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed and particularly by the Rapid Action Battalion, RAB“.
Regrettably, all the inquiries made by the Senator have been responded to by Bangladeshi officials with “blanket denials, obfuscation, and even falsehoods“. Given the systematic and constant violations to the rule of law in Bangladesh and the impunity of the security officers responsible for these abuses, Senator Leahy has described Prime Minister Wajed’s government “as one that condones state-sponsored criminality“.
The statement highlights the arrest of seven senior representatives of the opposition political party Jamaat-e-Islami in Dhaka last week. This type of conduct, which Senator Leahy describes as a threat to “democracy itself“, could lead to an increase in extremism. Consequently, the Senator echoed those inquiries upon the Government of Bangladesh to respond to calls regarding dozens of cases of disappearances and to permanently dismantle the RAB, and publicly announced that he would not support further U.S. assistance for law enforcement agencies “until the necessary steps are taken“.
The full statement is available here.
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