'US envoy leaves without ending meeting due to security concern'

US ambassador in Dhaka Peter D Haas visits the house of BNP leader Sajedul Islam, who is believed to have been gone missing, in Shaheenbagh area of Dhaka on 14 December 2022.

US ambassador in Dhaka Peter D Haas visited the home of BNP leader Sajedul Islam, who has gone missing, in the capital on Wednesday.

Peter Haas arrived in the BNP leader’s house a little after 9:00am and stayed there for half an hour.

US State Department Bangladesh Desk officer Lika Johnston accompanied the US envoy there.

US embassy spokesperson told Prothom Alo that the envoy left the home without ending the meeting due to security concerns and they have informed the matter to the high level of the government.

There was chaos in front of the house while Peter Haas was getting into his car.

Hearing the news of Peter Haas’ visit, leaders and activists of ruling party and a group of people under the banner of ‘Mayer Kanna’ gathered in front of Sajedul Islam’s house.

‘Mayer Kanna’ is a platform of the families of the army and air force members, who were sacked, jailed and hanged following the 2 October 1977 abortive coup.

Sanjida Islam, sister of missing Sajedul Islam, is the coordinator of ‘Mayer Daak,’ a platform of the families of those who have been victim of enforced disappearance.

She told Prothom Alo, “A police team led by Tejgaon police station officer-in-charge Apurba Hasan visited our house on Tuesday and Wednesday on the occasion of Peter Haas’ visit. But, local leaders and activists of Awami League and people from Mayer Kanna had taken position on streets in front of our house 40 minutes before the US envoy arrived.”

“When the envoy was getting into his car after leaving our home, those people tried to speak to him. At one stage, there was chaos. Later, Peter Haas got into his car with the help of police members who were deployed for his security,” she added.

When asked on discussion with Peter Haas, Sanjida Islam said, “The envoy inquired about the family members of the missing persons. As investigation is on into the incidents of picking up people by law enforcement agencies, we have demanded proper investigation. He also asked what we want now.”

Peter Haas also said that they have been working on how investigation can be carried out into the missing incidents in addition to ensuring human rights.

Sajedul Islam, who was general secretary of BNP’s Dhaka city Ward No 30 unit (now Dhaka north Ward No 25), has gone missing since 4 December 2013. Family alleged members of law enforcement agency took him away.