Tahmid Hasib Khan. COURTESY OF SYED ISHTIAQUE AHMED

Bangladeshi Police have announced the arrest of fourth-year life sciences student Tahmid Hasib Khan.

According to Dhaka Metropolitan Police spokesperson Masudur Rahman, a Dhaka court allowed the police to question Khan and British citizen Hasnat Karim for eight days, after they had originally asked for 10 days.

Khan was not charged; Bangladesh’s Code of Criminal Procedure permits police to make arrests without a warrant.

Khan arrived in Dhaka to see his family while en route to Nepal for a summer job with UNICEF. He was at a café in Dhaka’s diplomatic quarter on July 1, when five militants entered the café and held the patrons hostage.

The siege came to an end after Bangladeshi forces stormed the café the next morning; a total of 20 hostages were killed. Khan was one of 13 surviving hostages.

Khan’s whereabouts were unclear following the siege; his family and friends reported that they had no contact with him following the attack. The Dhaka Metropolitan Police initially denied having Khan in custody.

In July, Khan’s friends and family set up a ‘Free Tahmid’ Facebook page, which has amassed nearly 70,000 likes. A statement on the Facebook page reads, “We understand that the authorities need to investigate this matter thoroughly. We trust that they will soon conclude, as his fellow hostages have confirmed, that Tahmid is innocent.”

U of T Media Relations Director Althea Blackburn-Evans told The Varsity that the university is continuing to monitor this situation. On July 6, U of T president Meric Gerlter sent a letter offering the university’s support to Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion and Global Affairs Canada. Khan is a permanent resident and not a Canadian citizen, and Global Affairs Canada previously stated that there are “limits to what any country can do for individuals who are not citizens of that country.”

“We still stand by our offer of support that we shared with Global Affairs Canada back in early July, and this is continuing to be a concern for the university. We are hoping that he is safe, and he is treated fairly in the process,” said Blackburn-Evans.

Global Affairs Canada has not to replied to the university’s letter. “The primary concern there was just to reach out to Minister Dion’s office, offer our support, offer our concerns for his safety, offer our thoughts on hope that he be treated fairly, but we haven’t had any further communication with them at this stage,” Blackburn-Evans explained.

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