Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal on Wednesday questioned the credibility of a US State Department report on the abuse of power by law enforcement agencies in Bangladesh.
"The report contains discrepancies," he said in response to a question from reporters at his office in the Secretariat.
"This allegation is probably from 2021, not 2022. Our records do not match with the number of disappearances and killings provided in the US report," he claimed.
The minister said that an executive magistrate investigates all gunfights involving the security forces of the nation.
"If it is found that the law enforcers open fire in self-defense, the investigation doesn't proceed. And if the executive magistrate thinks the incident is wrong or careless, we send the case to the judiciary," Kamal explained.
He also pointed fingers at the US State Department for "misrepresenting" facts in their report, mentioning that no one is above justice in Bangladesh.
The minister also said that many of the missing persons deliberately went into hiding for issues such as loss in business or family feud.
Earlier in the day, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam also criticised the US Report.
He said that the report contains some "misinformation" and is collected primarily from the "anti-government propaganda machines".
The US State Department released the 2021 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, an annual report required by US law.
The report said that there were reports of widespread impunity for abuses and corruption by the Bangladeshi security forces – encompassing the military, national police, border guards, and counterterrorism units such as the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB).
"The [Bangladesh] government took few measures to investigate and prosecute cases of corruption and abuse and killing by security forces," read the report launched by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday (12 April).
According to the findings of the report, the significant human rights issues in Bangladesh include – credible reports of unlawful or arbitrary killings, including extrajudicial killings; forced disappearance; torture or cases of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment by the government or its agents on behalf of the government; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; arbitrary arrests or detentions; political prisoners; politically motivated reprisals against individuals in another country; serious problems with the independence of the judiciary and arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy.