The United States on Monday urged Bangladesh to free a human rights activist, saying his detention had a "chilling effect" on civil society. The police seized the activist, Adilur Rahman Khan, secretary of the human rights group Odhikar, on Saturday after the organization questioned the official account of a deadly crackdown on Islamist protesters in May. A State Department spokeswoman, Marie Harf, said the United States was "deeply concerned" about Mr. Khan's detention and called for his release "while the government pursues any outstanding legal issues through a fair and transparent judicial process." The police said they wanted to question Mr. Khan for "false and fabricated" information about a crackdown on the May protest. The police had said 11 people, including a police officer, died during the protest. But Odhikar said that about 60 people had been killed. Brad Adams, the Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said Mr. Khan's arrest "appears to be an attempt to silence one of the Bangladeshi government's most vocal critics prior to national elections."
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.