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14 Sep 2023

The Business Standard

Bangladesh: US expresses concern over imprisionment of Odhikar leaders, says HC verdict will discourage HRDs

"Odhikar leaders' imprisonment may discourage human rights defenders; CSA continues criminalisation of freedom of expression: US", 14 September 2023

The United States (US) has said the High Court verdict against Odhikar's Secretary Adilur Rahman Khan and Director ASM Nasiruddin Elan might discourage human rights defenders while the new legislation of the Cyber Security Act (CSA) continues to criminalise freedom of expression.

Expressing concern over the imprisonment of the Odhikar leaders, the US said in a statement..., "Today's judgement against Odhikar's Secretary Adilur Rahman Khan and Director ASM Nasiruddin Elan may further undermine the willingness of human rights defenders and civil society to play their vital democratic role."


On the judgement against Odhikar officials, the statement said, "The United States strongly supports the role that human rights defenders and civil society organisations play in promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms.

It also referred to the US' 2022 Country Report on Human Rights in Bangladesh highlighting "significant limitations on freedom of expression both online and offline" and noting that human rights groups "operated with significant government restrictions."