Dhaka: The US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) banned 15 government officials from three countries, including Bangladesh for cracking down on innocent civilians, political opponents and peaceful protesters, and for serious human rights abuses, it was reported here on Saturday.
Among them are six current and former officers of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) of Bangladesh.
The Bangladeshi officials on the OFAC list released on Friday (December 10) are RAB’s current Director-General Chowdhury Abdullah Al Mamun, Additional Director General Khan Mohammad Azad, former Director-General Benazir Ahmed, former Additional Director General Tofail Mustafa Sarwar, former Additional Director General Mohammad Jahangir Alam And former Additional Director General Mohammad Anwar Latif Khan.
When contacted, none of the RAB officials was available for comment.
A report published on the US Treasury Department’s website on December 6 stated that the sanctions were aimed at “gravely violating the human rights of innocent civilians, opposition parties and peaceful activists.”
As part of the US government’s commitment to democracy, the Treasury Department is taking steps to ensure that those on the list are held accountable for misleading democratic institutions.
Powerful means at the disposal of the Ministry of Finance are being used to block the way for the poor to benefit from corruption and oppression and to limit their financial transactions and arrangements.
Along with the list, the OFAC also cited two Iranian organizations and two individuals in their report, who were previously mentioned by the US State Department. The list was released by the OFAC just before the Democracy Conference.
Asked about the reaction, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan told the media, “We have heard. But we have not been officially informed yet. If it is officially announced, we will sit down with our secretary and give our opinion on this matter.”