The US has imposed sanctions on the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and seven of its former and current officials over human rights violations.
The US State Department linked the current Inspector General of Police (IGP) and former RAB director general (DG) Benazir Ahmed, and former RAB-7 commanding officer Lt Col Miftah Uddin Ahmed to the "extrajudicial" killing of Teknaf Municipality councillor Ekramul Haque, during an anti-drug drive in May 2018.
In addition to RAB, the US on Friday imposed extensive human rights-related sanctions on people and entities originating from China, Myanmar, and North Korea, and included Chinese artificial intelligence company SenseTime Group in an investment blacklist.
Meanwhile, the Treasury Department designated RAB, Benazir, and five other former and current RAB officials under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, EO 13818 citing "serious human rights abuse relating to their tenure."
The others sanctioned are:
- Chowdhury Abdullah Al-Mamun, DG, RAB, 15 April, 2020 to present
- Khan Mohammad Azad, additional director general (operations), RAB, 16 March , 2021 to present
- Tofayel Mustafa Sorwar, former additional director general (operations), RAB, 27 June, 2019 to 16 March, 2021
- Mohammad Jahangir Alam, former additional director general (operations), RAB, 17 September, 2018 to 27 June, 2019
- Mohammad Anwar Latif Khan, former additional director general (operations), RAB, 28 April, 2016 to 17 September, 2018
The EO 13818 means blocking of property in the US. It is the first time individuals or entities from Bangladesh have been the subject of US sanctions.
Apart from the US, Canada, and the United Kingdom also issued sanctions on Myanmar top officials related to human rights abuse, while Washington imposed the first new sanctions on North Korea since Joe Biden came into power.
The sanctions targeted Myanmar military entities, among others, in action marking Human Rights Day.