AL leader threatens to kill Peter Haas

US ambassador in Dhaka Peter Haas
File Photo

An upazila level leader of the governing Awami League has threatened to kill the US ambassador to Bangladesh, Peter D Haas, while addressing a public rally.

A 28-second video clip of the public speech of Faridul Alam, senior vice-president of Maheshkhali upazila unit of Awami League in Cox’s Bazar, went viral on Wednesday.

The US embassy in Bangladesh expressed their concerns in this regard.

Faridul Alam on 6 November issued the threat while addressing a party workers’ rally, organised by Kalarmarchhara union AL and its associate bodies, as the special guest.

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In the video, Faridul is heard saying, "There is a conspiracy underway in Bangladesh. Peter Haas is a scoundrel. Due to the unethical actions he is undertaking on behalf of the BNP, had we got hold of him, we would have slaughtered him and fed people. That Peter Haas, the scoundrel."

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Central Awami League's Religious Affairs Secretary, Sirajul Mostafa, was the chief guest at the rally held on the evening of 6 November at Kalarmarchhara Government Primary School ground. Member of Parliament Ashek Ullah Rafique was the main speaker, and Upazila Awami League President Anwar Pasha Chowdhury, General Secretary Tarek Bin Osman Sharif, and others were present.

When asked about the statement, Faridul Alam told Prothom Alo over the phone, 'I did not give such a statement. Peter Haas is our guest. I was talking about hospitality. I did not speak about him being slaughtered and fed to people.' When the video clip was mentioned, he denied making the statement.

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However, Tarek Bin Osman Sharif, who was on stage during Faridul's speech, told Prothom Alo, “I did not hear anything about slaughtering, but I did hear him talking about Peter Haas in the speech. It was inappropriate to make such a statement. Therefore, everyone will be warned about this in future party meetings.”

Meanwhile, US Embassy spokesperson Stephen Ibelli told the media Wednesday, “We have repeatedly expressed our concern to the Bangladesh government regarding the threatening statements directed at Ambassador Peter Haas.”

On 6 November, Chambal Union Parishad Chairman Mujibul Haque Chowdhury of Chattogram Banshkhali publicly threatened to beat up Peter Haas during a rally. This incident was reported in the media on 8 November.