Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 7th June 2007.

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Photo of Geoffrey Clifton-Brown Geoffrey Clifton-Brown Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports she has received on the arrests of 10 British citizens in Syhlet, Bangladesh, on 14 May; what representations she has made on this issue; and if she will make a statement.

Photo of Kim Howells Kim Howells Minister of State (Middle East), Foreign & Commonwealth Office

We understand that the 10 British citizens were part of a gathering of over 40 people who were arrested in Syhlet for allegedly breaching the current restrictions in Bangladesh on the holding of political meetings.

We take our consular responsibilities to British nationals very seriously. On becoming aware of the arrests, our High Commission in Dhaka raised the case with the caretaker government and sought consular access. Following an order of the High Court in Dhaka on 22 May nine of the detained British citizens have been released on bail and one has since returned to the UK. The High Commission continues to provide consular assistance to the remaining detainee.

We continue to emphasise to the caretaker government, and to the armed forces, the need to respect human rights and the rule of law.

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