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Letter: Tulip Siddiq should decide what to do over Arman bin Quasem

PUBLISHED: 13:33 07 December 2017 | UPDATED: 13:33 07 December 2017

Jessica Learmond-Criqui

Jessica Learmond-Criqui

Archant

Hampstead lawyer Jessica Learmond Criqui writes a letter on the situation regarding ‘disappeared’ Arman bin Quasem in Bangladesh

Tulip Siddiq MP may help who she chooses. She is not bound to help everyone.

In trying to help the family of Arman bin Quasem, the Channel 4 journalists were right to put their questions to her although they may not have liked the answer they got, namely that she will not get involved.

She is a close family member - the niece - of the prime minister of Bangladesh and, therefore, in prime position to be lobbied by those who fight for Mr bin Quasem’s freedom.

In the past she has represented her aunt’s party in London, run the media campaign for her aunt’s election, been photographed with her aunt visiting President Putin, and represented Bangladesh at the United Nations.

She is, therefore, a legitimate person to ask to intervene in Mr bin Quasem’s case.

In fighting for Nazanin’s freedom, I and many others have left ‘no stone unturned’.

I have lobbied the Queen, current and past Archbishops of Canterbury, prime minister, foreign secretary and Russian ambassador among many others in a bid to secure Nazanin’s release.

Why Ms Siddiq chooses to be precious about asking for the release of Mr bin Quasem is a matter for her although it is her prerogative not to do so.

But given her leading role in fighting for the release of illegally detained Nazanin while pointing a finger at Iran, it is incongruous that she won’t also do so for illegally detained Mr bin Quasem while pointing a finger at Bangladesh, perhaps out of some filial loyalty to her aunt.

Someone needs to plead for Mr bin Quasem’s release, detained as he is in circumstances where his family does not know where he is held or what for and in a country where it is said that people routinely ‘get disappeared’ by forces linked to the government.

Mr bin Quasem’s case will overshadow Nazanin’s case as long as Ms Siddiq keeps her fingers in her ears about his case. In order to unblock the situation, I have written to the prime minister of Bangladesh to ask for his release in the same way that I and others have campaigned for the release of Nazanin.

I have explained in my letter the situation roughly as I have described above.

Mr bin Quasem needs to be released and the prime minister of Bangladesh is in poll position to secure his release.

I hope that she acts on my letter so that Mr bin Quasem and Nazanin can be with their families for Christmas.

Regarding the intimidation of Mr bin Quasem’s young family, it is deeply disturbing that after Ms Siddiq’s chat with Channel 4 and before Channel 4 aired its report, forces linked to the government visited the family and told them to behave.

Then again after the Channel 4 report, more forces in greater number again visited the family to intimidate them.

This is a sinister and nasty turn of events regarding Mr bin Quasem and may have been directly attributable to Channel 4’s chat with Ms Siddiq.

Ms Siddiq must now ask herself how she could continue to advocate for Nazanin when Mr bin Quasem’s family has been intimidated by reference to an interview with her.

While the intimidation may be incidental and not linked to the interview, the appearance of this set of circumstances leaves an unpleasant and uncomfortable feeling about what is happening to Mr bin Quasem’s family.

Even if Ms Siddiq did not want to get involved with Mr bin Quasem’s case, circumstances have conspired to put her in the middle of it and she must now decide what she wishes to do.

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