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US not withdrawing sanctions on RAB: State Department

US not withdrawing sanctions on RAB: State Department

Diplomatic Correspondent

The United States has said the sanctions imposed on Bangladesh's elite force – Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) – are not being withdrawn.

“Those claims are false. The US is not withdrawing sanctions against the RAB. Those claims are false. Sanctions are intended to change behaviour and promote accountability,” said Vedant Patel, principal deputy spokesperson at the US Department of State.

He said this while responding to a question regarding the withdrawal of sanctions on the RAB at a regular press briefing at the Department of State in Washington DC on Thursday.

The US Embassy in Dhaka in a statement on X also confirmed this. The United States on 10 December 2021 imposed human rights-related sanctions on the Rapid Action Battalion and seven current and former top officials of the agency, including Benazir Ahmed, then inspector general of police (IGP).

Benazir, also a former director general of the battalion, and its five other officials were designated by the Department of the Treasury under the Global Magnitsky sanctions programme in connection with serious rights abuse.

The five were – Chowdhury Abdullah Al-Mamun, former director general of the RAB; Khan Mohammad Azad, additional director general (operations); Tofayel Mustafa Sorwar, additional director general (operations); Mohammad Jahangir Alam, additional director general (operations), and Mohammad Anwar Latif Khan, additional director general (operations).

Besides, the State Department barred Benazir, and another former official of the RAB, Lt Col Miftah Uddin Ahmed, from travelling to the United States.

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