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Fact check: Social Media Erupts With Multiple Fake Sanctions News

Claim- Sanctions Imposed on Numerous Political Figures and Government Officials
Fact- The Visa Policy Demands and Sanction Impositions Have No Valid Basis

Recently, a series of videos advocating for sanctions against numerous government officials and prominent political figures have gone viral on social media platforms. The ongoing political situation in Bangladesh has intensified discussions surrounding sanctions and visa policies in the context of the country’s relations with the international community. Many TikTok videos are currently going viral, calling for sanctions against various influential individuals. See the posts Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here & Here. see the screenshots below:

screenshot of the viral post
courtesy: TikTok/user
screenshot of the viral post
courtesy: TikTok/user
screenshot of the viral post
courtesy: TikTok/user
screenshot of the viral post
courtesy: TikTok/user

Newschecker-Bangladesh has verified these claims as false.

Factcheck/Verification

Conducting a Google keyword search did not yield any results providing evidence or a list of sanctions imposed on multiple personalities that had gone viral on TikTok. Our investigation also revealed that the United States has implemented a visa ban on Bangladesh, but there is no publicly available list of individuals affected by this ban. Furthermore, the reports we examined did not contain any specific names in relation to these sanctions. You can review some of these reports for further information-  The Daily Star, Dhaka Tribune

screenshot of the report that says no names will be revealed whoever falls under the visa restrictions
courtesy: Dhaka Tribune

Initially, a counterfeit photocard attributed to Dainik Prothom Alo was utilized in a recently circulated video, as evidenced in the links provided (here and here), concerning the visa ban discussed on TikTok. This forged photocard purports that the United States has enforced a visa ban on opposition party chairman Tariq Rahman and activist Pinaki Bhattacharya, with these claims allegedly attributed to Peter Haas, the United States Ambassador to Bangladesh. When contacted by Newschecker, Prothom Alo verified that the photocard was indeed fabricated. Additionally, they stated that Prothom Alo had not issued any reports pertaining to this matter. Furthermore, no such information was found on the official Twitter or Facebook pages of the US Embassy in Dhaka. 

Another video shows images of former DUCSU VP Noor, BNP’s Tariq Rahman, Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, and Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, claiming that 10 opposition leaders, including VP Noor, have been added to the US visa ban list.

Furthermore, it is alleged that Matthew Miller, the spokesperson for the United States Department of State, issued this information in a statement on the evening of Friday, September 22, in Washington DC. Our investigation indicates that on September 22, Matthew Miller, the spokesperson for the US State Department, announced his intention to begin implementing the visa ban that had been imposed on individuals from Bangladesh. You can review a few reports Here, Here & Here

screenshot of the US embassy website that shows the statement of matthew miller
courtesy: US embassy, Dhaka website/Internet
screenshot of the US embassy website that shows the statement of Matthew Miller that shows no name
courtesy: US embassy, Dhaka website/Internet

Additionally, an official press release was posted on the website of the US Embassy in Dhaka. Nevertheless, it’s worth noting that the notification did not specify the names of individuals subject to the visa ban. 

screenshot of a report of Kalbela online, that shows no names will be revealed of those who have visa restrictions
courtesy: Kalbela/Online

In an interview with the Daily Star, Donald Lu was asked to identify those affected by the visa ban policy. He replied, “We have maintained from the outset that we will not be releasing any names.”

screenshot grabbed from the Daily Star that demonstrates an interview of Donald Lu says no name will be revealed
courtesy: The Daily Star/Online

Likewise, in another TikTok video, there is a claim that a visa ban has been enforced on 8 senior police officers, including DB Harun. It’s important to clarify that none of these assertions are substantiated. The United States has consistently maintained that it will not disclose the identities of individuals affected by the visa ban policy announced last May

Conversely, within the Australian Parliament, MP Abigail Boyd raised the prospect of Magnitsky-style sanctions in light of the prevailing political conditions in Bangladesh. Nevertheless, it is worth noting that there has been no official declaration of sanctions from Australia thus far. Additionally, there is a TikTok video asserting that Australia has once more imposed sanctions on Bangladesh. It is crucial to emphasize that, akin to other claims, this assertion lacks any factual basis.

The US visa ban policy for Bangladesh was unveiled in May 2023. This policy stipulates that individuals who are accountable for or engaged in actions that undermine the democratic electoral process in Bangladesh will be ineligible to enter the United States. Following the announcement of this visa ban policy, Bangladeshi officials decried it as ‘unacceptable,’ contending that it constitutes interference by the United States in the internal affairs of Bangladesh.

The United States implemented its visa ban policy on September 22nd. The identities of the people affected by this policy have not yet been made public.

Conclusion

Therefore, the claim of sanction on multiple personalities going viral on social media platforms is false. The United States has imposed a visa ban on Bangladesh but has not made a specific list of them public.

Result: False

Our Sources: 
The Daily Star, Dhaka TribuneUS Embassy, Donald Lu’s  Interview,  Matthew Miller’s statement 


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