Custodial death of Jesmin to have no impact on BD-US relations: Momen

Foreign minister AK Abdul Momen speaks to reporters at the foreign ministry on 29 March, 2023.UNB

Foreign minister AK Abdul Momen has said the death of Sultana Jesmin in RAB custody will not have any impact on the relations between the United States and Bangladesh.

He made the statement while talking to reporters at the foreign ministry on Wednesday, reports UNB.

While answering questions from the journalists regarding the death of Sultana Jesmin in RAB custody, Momen said: “This kind of thing can happen suddenly. You can see such accidents happening in the US almost daily.”

“Just this week, children were killed in a mass shooting in the US. Is the relationship with anyone getting worse? I don’t think an accident like this will spoil our bilateral relationship.”

Sultana Jesmin, 38, an office assistant of Naogaon Municipality-Chandipur Union Land Office, was picked up by a RAB-5 patrol team on 22 March in connection with a Digital Security Act case while she was walking to work in the morning.

Later that day, she was taken to Naogaon Sadar Hospital and then to Rajshahi Medical College Hospital, where she died on March 24, according to hospital authorities.

Meanwhile, Momen said Bangladesh does not need lessons about democracy from others.

“Bangladesh is the only country where three million people have given their lives for the struggle of democracy, justice and human rights. We don’t need any lessons on democracy from other countries.”

The democracy in Bangladesh is very strong right now, he added.

Referring to problems with democracy in the United States, the foreign minister said their democracy is very weak. Therefore, they are attempting to advocate for democratic reforms both at home and abroad.

He said, “The US is trying to be more vocal about democratic reforms at home and abroad. We’re trying to strengthen our democracy as well. We’re on the same page regarding that. Our democratic institutions have undergone tremendous reforms in the past decade.”

“We have established an independent Election Commission. We’ve created voter IDs with photographs to tackle fake voters. In the past 14 years, the election commission presided over thousands of elections. Almost all of them were transparent and acceptable. And our elections in the future will be transparent and acceptable as well,” he added.

Momen said the development of Bangladesh under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina has been hailed as ‘magical’ in global media.

“Our geopolitical location has increased our importance globally. And due to the constant development, many countries around the world are now interested in maintaining trade and business relationships with us.”

“On this Independence Day and during the beginning of Ramadan, we have received congratulatory letters from numerous heads of state and foreign ministers of many countries,” he added.