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Durbin, Merkley, Kaine, Welch Statement Following the Bangladesh Election

WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Tim Kaine (D-VA), and Peter Welch (D-VT) released the following statement after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh won a fourth consecutive term:

“On Sunday, despite the peaceful participation of millions of Bangladeshis, the country’s election and pre-election processes were marred by violence and troubling government intimidation of opposition candidates. The refusal of the main opposition party to participate was also regrettable. Leading up to the election, opposition party members and civil society activists faced harassment and mass arbitrary arrests that undermined the pre-election process.

“As such, we urge Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to live up to her promise to preserve Bangladeshi democracy by stopping the abuse of democratic institutions and to uplift all Bangladeshi voices. We also encourage all parties to engage in meaningful dialogue, commit to nonviolence, and hold perpetrators of political violence accountable. In the aftermath of the election, freedom of expression and civic spaces must be protected.”