Human Rights Watch urges freedom for Bangladeshi cafe attack hostages

DHAKA, Bangladesh, July 16 (UPI) — Human Rights Watch urged officials in Bangladesh to either charge or release two men who were part of a group of people held hostage by gunmen at the Holey Artisan Bakery Cafe in Dhaka in early July.

Hasanat Karim and Tahmid Khan were among the hostages questioned by authorities at the Detective Branch headquarters following the attack on the cafe on July 1 which left 24 people dead.

According to a statement released by the HRW, Karim and Khan are the only two hostages who are still being detained and their families have been given little to no information. Bangladeshi police deny the two men are being held.

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Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch urged Bangladeshi authorities to conduct their investigations in a “rights-respecting manner.”

“Karim and Khan have not had access to a lawyer, and the police continue to deny holding them although they are clearly still being held by the Detective Branch,” Adams said. “The authorities need to either charge or release them immediately.”

Karim is a British national and Khan is a resident of Canada. Adams said Karim and Khan are being denied their basic rights in accordance with international law.

Bangladeshi police said they have released “all the rescued hostages after questioning them about the incident.”

The attack began late on July 1 and continued for nearly 11 hours until police stormed the cafe, killing six of the seven gunmen in the process.

Hostages said the attackers targeted non-Muslims and required them to recite from the Koran.

Five of the gunmen involved were militants with ties to terrorism who police had previously tried to arrest in the past.

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