US to free 48 detained BD nationals

22 October 2015

Bangladeshi nationals, who had been on a hunger strike at a US detention centre, will be released soon and can reside in US until their request for asylum is resolved.Forty-eight Bangladeshis under detention at the El Paso Detention Centre in Texas started a hunger strike asking to be freed. The Bangladesh embassy in Washington intervened and when assured of their release, the protestors withdrew their hunger strike after 156 hours.Bangladesh embassy's Minister (consular) Shamsul Alam Chowdhury said that the US Immigrant and Customs Enforcement has decided to release them on some conditions.On Oct 14, fifty-four Bangladeshis at the detention centre went on a hunger strike. Two days later, eleven of them were released.Fourteen others were shifted to another facility in Louisiana and they are still on a hunger strike. The authorities are yet to take any decision on them.Embassy official Chowdhury went to El Paso on Oct 19 after media reports over the hunger strike by Bangladesh detainees."A solution over the detainees was reached after long discussions with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement authorities," he told over phone. The embassy will issue passports for the detainees, who will have to arrange a sponsor, which means a US resident who would act as a guarantor.The Bangladeshi detainees will be released after medical tests. Their petitions for political asylum will be also heard, said Chowdhury.They will be on bail until the petitions are resolved and those eligible will be issued work permits and social security numbers.After the successful discussion, Chowdhury met the detainees and made them lift the strike.The Bangladesh mission is continuing discussions with authorities over the 14 detainees in Louisiana.

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