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Earlier, on 10 December last year, the United States imposed human rights-related sanctions on Benazir Ahmed, current Inspector General of the Bangladesh Police and former director general of RAB, and six other individuals on the occasion of International Human Rights Day.

The US Department of State announced visa restrictions on Benazir Ahmed, and former commander of RAB-7, Miftah Uddin, which it says, due to their “involvement in gross violations of human rights” for extrajudicial killing of Cox’s Bazar’s Teknaf pourashava councillor Ekramul Haque in May 2018, making them ineligible for entry into the US.

RAB as an entity, Benazir 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.

US treasury department has issued sanctions on RAB’s incumbent DG, Chowdhury Abdullah Al Mamun, additional director general (operations) Khan Mohammad Azad, former additional director general (operations) Tofael Mostafa Sarwar, former additional director general (operations) Md Jahangir Alam and former additional director general (operations) Md Anwar Latif Khan.

Bangladesh expressed its discontent with the step. On 11 December, the foreign ministry summoned the US ambassador to Bangladesh Earl Miller. The foreign secretary Masud Bin Momen informed him of Bangladesh’s discontent.

AK Abdul Momen termed the sanctions as “unfortunate”.

On the other hand, RAB has said the allegations of violation of human rights against RAB are not true.

“Very few forces in the world show humanity like RAB,” claimed RAB legal and media wing director Khandaker Al Moin while addressing a press conference at its media centre in Karwan Bazar in the city on 11 December.

Al Moin also said RAB does not snatch human rights, rather it protects human rights.

Following the sanctions, communications began between the two countries. Though Bangladesh was disconcerted with the decision, it focused on taking the relations to a different level.

Law, home and foreign ministries have been given responsibility to discuss the matter and send a response to the sanctions.

Later, on 15 December, the US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken phoned foreign minister Abdul Momen. The two leaders discussed about taking the bilateral relations forward. The Bangladesh foreign minister also requested Blinken to inform Bangladesh prior to taking any discussion.

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