Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for Bangladesh

Newsline: Bangladesh Supreme Court confirms death penalty for Saudi embassy official murder

The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court has upheld the High Court verdict that sentenced one to death and three others to life in prison for killing a Saudi embassy official. A three-member bench of the Appellate Division, headed by acting chief justice Md Abdul Wahhab Miah, gave the verdict Wednesday morning. The apex court started hearing on the appeals in the Saudi embassy official Khalaf Al Ali murder case on October 17. On March 5, 2012, Khalaf, 45, was gunned down inside the diplomatic zone in Gulshan. Later, he died at United Hospital the following day. On June 4, a team of Detective Branch of police arrested Saiful Islam Mamun, Md Al Amin and Akbar Ali Lalu from the city’s Dakkhinkhan area in connection with the murder. Later, police also arrested Rafiqul Islam. Four people were shown arrested in the case.



Newsline: Joint embassy in Bangladesh a ‘political project’ for Germany, France

The Franco-German embassy in Bangladesh is more than a building because of the political meaning it conveys, says German Ambassador Thomas Prinz. “For us it’s a political project,” the envoy said, while inaugurating the building in Baridhara together with his French counterpart Sophie Aubert on Sunday. The joint embassy building symbolises that “arch enemies can be good friends,” Prinz said. The Franco-German embassy in Dhaka brings under one roof two countries that were once bitter enemies, a first among such embassies around the world. The five-storey building was constructed using bricks of two colours – grey symbolised the French rooms while red adorned the German side. But the European Union countries will share a common entrance, visa section and meeting room, among other shared spaces. On Sep 21 of 2015, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier attended a launching ceremony of the under-construction building in Dhaka. The project was initiated in 2012. French Ambassador Aubert on Sunday said they wanted to inaugurate the joint embassy before the French National Day is celebrated on Jul 14. The two countries work together in Kuwait, but operate from a rented building. They have been planning joint embassies in Beirut, Cairo and Khartoum.


Newsline: South Korea warns Bangladesh of strained ties after court summons ambassador

South Korea has termed the summoning of its ambassador by a Dhaka court “regrettable and unacceptable”. In a strongly-worded statement, it warned the government that such act, if recurs in future, would “seriously damage” bilateral relations between Bangladesh and Korea. Judge Fazley Elahee Bhuiyan of a Dhaka district court on July 24 asked Ambassador Lee Yun-young to appear before him in person at 9am on Sep 10 to answer some queries related to a case. The ambassador took the issue to the foreign ministry.The envoy was made an accused in a case filed in September 2011 by Abdul Kader Faruk, Managing director of RN Spinning Mills Ltd, in East Rampura. Two top officials of Dayeung Industries Inc in South Korea were the main accused in the case. Faruk demanded $0.138 million from the Korean company. The court issued summons to the envoy on July 24 this year following a petition by the plaintiff. The embassy said the summons had been issued without presenting “any justifiable and reasonable grounds” and without “verifying its relevance”. It was also an “obvious violation” of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, the statement added. It said his summons was “completely irrelevant” and was flawed in all aspects. The embassy conveyed its “firm and clear position” to the Bangladesh’s foreign ministry and requested necessary measures to address the issue for the sake of “future relationship” between Dhaka and Seoul.


Newsline: Many Asians unhappy with embassies in Qatar

A rapid increase in the number of foreign workers recruited from Asian countries, especially in the construction sector, ahead of the 2022 Fifa World Cup, has put the embassies of their countries here in a not-so-comfortable situation, with more pressure on consular services and a rise in workers’ complaints. A random survey conducted by The Peninsula among members of different Asian communities shows that very few are satisfied with the performance of their embassies. Most respondents were critical of what they said were poor consular services provided by the missions. A Nepalese worker complained about delays in consular services at the embassy. An Indian expatriate said the Indian embassy had a lot to do to address the problems of the rapidly growing Indian expatriate population in Qatar. Most Sri Lankans this daily spoke to were bitterly critical of their embassy, its staff and services. Several Bangladeshis contacted for comment also said that they were upset by the “poor” treatment they got at their embassy. The Philippine embassy came out with flying colours in the Peninsula survey. Asked whether the embassy would come to their aid if they were in trouble, all the respondents in the survey said yes.


Newsline: Fire at Russian embassy in Bangladesh

Fire broke out at the premises of Embassy of the Russian Federation in Bangladesh at the capital’s posh Gulshan area on Monday morning. No casualties were incurred. Fire service could not ascertain the cause of the fire, but police said it was caused from a short circuit. The fire broke out at the tin-shade garage building around 9am, Fire Service and Civil Defence headquarters Mobilising Officer Mohammad Ali said. Four fire fighting units from Baridhara and Tejgaon stations doused flames around 9:45am, he added. Damages could not be ascertained immediately.


Newsline: Bangladesh pardons 4 in Saudi embassy official murder

A Dhaka court revised the death sentence of four among the five convicted in the Saudi Arabia embassy official Khalaf Al Ali murder case. The convict on the run was acquitted while the death sentences of three others were revised to life sentences. The death sentence of one other was upheld. The High Court bench of Justice Md Moinul Islam Chowdhury and Justice Kazi Md Ejarul Haque Akondo delivered the verdict on Monday morning. In December last year, a lower court sentenced Saiful Islam Mamun, Al Amin, Akbar Ali, Rafiqul Islam and absconding Selim Chowdhury to death. They were convicted of shooting dead Khalaf Al Ali, 45, a diplomatic official, in the Gulshan area on the night of March 5 last year. The High Court upheld the death sentence for Saiful Islam Mamun. Absconding Selim was acquitted while Al Amin, Akbar Ali and Rafiqul Islam were given life sentences. Disappointed with the verdict, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam told Dhaka Tribune that the government will appeal against the verdict.


Newsline: Bangladeshi arrested over threat to Egyptian embassy

An activist of the student wing of Bangladesh’s largest Islamist party was arrested on Wednesday on the charges of threatening to blow up the Egyptian embassy here. Acting on a tip, the detective branch of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) arrested Shawkat Ali in central Dhaka, Xinhua reported.According to the police, the Egyptian embassy in Dhaka Tuesday received an SMS that demanded an end to “crackdown on the members of Muslim Brotherhood Movement in Egypt”. It threatened to blow up the embassy. Citing security concerns, the authorities decided to shut the consular section of the Egyptian embassy for 11 days from Wednesday.