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Bangladesh seeks access to alleged US bomb plotter

Publication Date : 20-10-2012

 

The Bangladesh government sought a diplomat's access to Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, detained in the US in connection with plotting an attack on the Federal Reserve Bank, said an official of the Bangladesh embassy there.

The request was made to the US government during a meeting between the Bangladesh embassy officials and US State Department personnel last night.

The embassy sources said the State Department officials confirmed that Nafis was a Bangladesh national and they also handed over a photocopy of Nafis' passport and the statement of the case filed against him.

Nafis was arrested in New York on Wednesday in a sting operation. He had allegedly attempted to blow up the Federal Reserve Bank in New York.

Earlier, Foreign Minister Dipu Moni said, “Dhaka is in touch with Washington … the Bangladesh government is fully engaged in the issue and we will do everything immediately after receiving information from the US government.”

She said this yesterday at a press conference organised to commend the media for honouring foreign friends for their roles in the Liberation War of 1971.

She had said, “We are expecting to officially know the details of Nafis' nationality and the reason for his arrest. He may be a Bangladeshi or a US citizen or could have dual citizenship. If we are confirmed that Nafis is a Bangladesh national, we will seek consular access.”

Having consular access will mean a diplomat from the embassy will be allowed to meet Nafis.

On Nafis' nationality and the reason for his arrest as claimed by the US government, the foreign minister had said, “This is a very sensitive issue and I cannot speculate anything. We will know about the entire matter only after talking to the US State Department officials.”

She said the government was committed to protect the interest of its citizens abroad and since Nafis was an expatriate, the government must know about his status.

Meanwhile, Home Minister Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir yesterday said Bangladesh government would assist the US in investigating the Nafis case, reports our staff correspondent.

“He will be tried under the US laws if his [Nafis'] involvement in any kind of subversive activities in the country is found,” he told journalists at Dhakeswari National Temple in the capital while supervising security measures ahead of Durga Puja.

“Bangladesh will do everything to stop any evil attempt of fundamentalists and sever relationship with anybody who would conduct any subversive activities in the US,” said the minister.

He, however, did not say whether the government would assist Nafis to get justice.

Awami League Joint General Secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif yesterday at a discussion said the government would investigate the alleged involvement of Nafis in Jamaat-e-Islami or any militant groups.

“Jamaat trains young people to become militants and spread them in and outside the country. It will be investigated whether there is any link between Nafis and Jamaat,” he said.

Shafiqul Rahman, acting secretary general, and Abdur Razzaq, assistant secretary general, of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, in a statement said the Awami League was trying to implicate Jamaat in the terrorist plot.

They also said such an attempt of terrorist attack was anti-Islamic and alien to mainstream Bangladeshi values.

A team of Special Branch (SB) of Police visited Nafis' Jatrabari house yesterday, Nafis' father QM Ahsanullah told The Daily Star over the phone.

“They interrogated us and our neighbours about Nafis and his activities when he was in the country,” he said.

According to his father, Nafis is introvert.

“He had a few friends here and as well as in the US. As far as I know, he was busy with his studies and work, and used to stay home after classes and work,” he said.

Ahsanullah, a banker, said his son used to talk to them regularly via Skype, an internet tool used for video chat. “We did not notice anything suspicious in his behaviour,” he added.

He said after Nafis' arrest, his family moved to a relatives' house. He declined to disclose where his family was staying.

 

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