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In a forceful letter addressed to Dr. Fakhruddin
Ahmed, Chief Adviser to the Caretaker Government of Bangladesh, United
States Senator Edward Kennedy, expressed his “deep concern about
twelve prominent intellectuals from Dhaka and Rajshahi University who
have been detained without charges under the authority of the Director
General of Forces Intelligence since August.”

Kennedy stated that he was “especially troubled by accusations that
they have been tortured.” The U.S. Senator, brother of the late
President John F. Kennedy, has been an outspoken critic of the Bush
administration’s war policies in Iraq and the holding of detainees at
Guantanamo.

With regard to Bangladesh, Kennedy argued that “holding these twelve
men without charge and for political reasons is a major assault on the
integrity and independence of the academic community of your nation
and calls into question your government’s commitment to human rights
and the rule of law…It is wrong for any government to detain
individuals for political reasons, and to deny them access for
extended periods to attorneys, family members, and medical care.”
Kennedy called on the “government to release these intellectuals and
students who have been detained for political reasons.”

Kennedy’s letter was addressed to the Bangladesh government through
Humayun Kabir, Bangladesh’s Ambassador to the United States. In an
attachment to the letter Senator Kennedy listed the individual names
of the twelve detained professors and their university affiliations. A
facsimile of the full letter is attached to this article. It was
leaked to the press by a Washington source who gained access to the
confidential correspondence.