Bangladesh police deny any rescued hostages, including British man, in custody
Published 16/07/2016 | 13:01
Police in Bangladesh have denied they are still holding a British man and a University of Toronto student who were rescued during this month's attack on a restaurant by radical Islamists.
Police in the country said they have questioned and released the men, who reportedly have been missing since the attack.
Hasnat Karim, the British national, and Tahmid Hasib Khan, the student, have not been heard from since being questioned by authorities following the July 1 attack, according to their families and Human Rights Watch.
After the New York-based rights group urged Bangladesh's government to guarantee the rights of the pair, Dhaka police spokesman Masudur Rahman said that neither man was still being held by police.
"They are not in our custody. We don't know anything," he said.
He would not confirm reports that they were still in the custody of any other agency as part of the investigation into the attack.
Five armed gunmen attacked the Holey Artisan Bakery restaurant on the night of July 1, killing 20 people and holding others inside hostage.
Security forces stormed the restaurant on July 2, killing the gunmen and rescuing the remaining 13 hostages. Those killed were nine Italians, seven Japanese, three Bangladeshis and one Indian.
Human Rights Watch said all of the hostages except for Mr Karim, 47, and Mr Khan, 22, were released by authorities on July 3.
Earlier this week, Amnesty International expressed its concern over Mr Khan's safety and urged the government to disclose his whereabouts.
Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said: "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. The authorities need to either charge or release them immediately."
The Islamic State group claimed it carried the attack. The claim was rejected by Bangladesh's government, which said IS has no presence in the country and instead blamed a local radical group.