The United States expressed deep concern over the mass arrests of opposition members in Bangladesh and urged the government to ensure an environment where everyone can participate in elections without fear.
“We urge the Government of Bangladesh to work with all stakeholders to create conditions in which all may participate in the pre-election and election environment freely, without fear of violence or retribution,” said US State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller during a regular media briefing on Wednesday (14 December).
“We are deeply concerned by the reports of mass arrests of thousands of opposition members and reports of torture in prison,” he added while reiterating the call to exercise restraint and avoid violence.
Emphasising the significance of dialogue in resolving political issues, he said, “It is our belief that a healthy democracy benefits from a variety of voices speaking freely, engaged in dialogue and discussion in an exchange about the issues of the day.”
During the media briefing, one of the reporters asked the spokesperson about the investigative report by Financial Times which claimed that Sheikh Hasina’s government has orchestrated a planned propaganda campaign involving deepfake tools against the United States and Bangladesh opposition political parties in the context of upcoming polls.
In response, Miller said the report has caught their attention and termed it “a worrying trend around the globe of using AI to manipulate and influence democratic processes”.
When asked about potential US sanction on Bangladesh ahead of the 7 January election, the spokesperson refrained from making any new announcements but noted that US policy prevents the previewing of sanctions before their imposition.
Source: TBS News