Hasina hits back at US: “Don’t lecture us about democracy while harbouring murderers”

Taking a swipe at the US, she said, “America talks about democracy and harbours murderers. I don’t know why. But they are apparently the most democratic country in the world!”

The prime minister made the remarks while virtually attending the unveiling ceremony of memoirs published by the Supreme Court, titled ‘Bangabandhu and the Judiciary’ and ‘Nyay Kantha’, on Tuesday.

Rashed Chowdhury, who was sentenced to death in the case over the assassination of Bangabandhu, has been in the US for a long time. Another convicted murderer, Noor Chowdhury, is residing in neighbouring Canada.

The US government recently hosted the Summit for Democracy but it did not invite Bangladesh to the virtual conference. Dhaka has also taken issue with Washington for imposing sanctions on seven present and former members of the Rapid Action Battalion, or RAB, for ‘human rights abuse’.

In particular, the US State Department linked former RAB chief Benazir Ahmed, currently serving as the inspector general of Bangladesh Police, and another commanding officer of the elite police unit, to the ‘extrajudicial’ killing of Teknaf Municipality councillor Akramul Haque in 2018.

On the issue of sanctions, Hasina said, “In a place like America, people always talk about justice, democracy, the right to vote, and human rights. But our human rights were violated and we didn’t get justice.

“Then the trial [of Bangabandhu’s killers] was held but the murderers are taking shelter there. Canada has sheltered Nur, and Rashed is still in the United States.”

“Then we have to hear from them about the rule of law, democracy and justice — that’s what amazes me.”

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Hasina underscored her government’s commitment to bringing the killers of Bangabandhu back to the country to face justice.

“Since I came to power, I have repeatedly asked every president of the United States about how they are continuing to shelter a convicted felon. How does their judiciary allow it? We still haven’t been able to bring [Rashed] back.”

Drawing on her personal experiences, Hasina stressed the need to ensure justice for all. “We want to get justice all the time. I don’t want anyone to cry for justice after losing their parents as I did. We are the victims and we know the pain of not getting justice.”

Addressing the judiciary, she added, “You must ensure that justice is served. That’s what we want. And as long as I am in government, I will do whatever’s needed to do that.”

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