Several Rohingya refugees from Australia have been detained at Dhaka Airport with invalid tourist visas
Australian police are investigating allegations that an official of the Bangladesh High Commission in Canberra was linked to issuing fake visas to Rohingya refugees that were attempting to visit relatives in Bangladesh.
The allegations surfaced after several Rohingya refugees from Australia were detained at Dhaka Airport for travelling with invalid tourist visas allegedly provided by the official of the Bangladesh High Commission in Canberra, Australia.
One of the victims, Faruk, has been living in Australia, as a refugee, for the past six years, but his family remains at a refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh. He travelled to Dhaka on December 19, 2018 to visit his family, on what he thought was a tourist visa for Bangladesh, that he obtained in Australia, reports the Australian news outlet SBS Bangla.
However, he was detained by Bangladesh Immigration Police at Hazrat Shahajalal International Airport, in Dhaka, on suspicion of travelling on an invalid or fake visa.
Farukh is one of at least 20 Rohingyas living in Australia recently detained at Dhaka international airport and deported on suspicion of an invalid visa, the report said.
Bangladesh Immigration Police interrogated Faruk and the other passengers and sent them back to Australia on December 20, 2018. During questioning they told authorities that they had collected their visas from an employee at the Bangladesh High Commission in Canberra.
Several members of the Rohingya group said they received their visas from an employee at the Bangladesh High Commission, the SBS report said.
They also claimed that the official told them to send their travel documents and payment of up to $350 to the employee’s home address for the visa to be issued.
In response to the allegations, Bangladesh High Commissioner Sufiur Rahman, in a written statement, said that the High Commission had received travel documents with “fake handwritten visas” on them, over the past two weeks, from some Rohingya refugees from Australia.
"While we have allegations, we cannot conclusively establish the involvement of any of our staff and have yet to receive a detailed report from the relevant Bangladesh authorities," the statement said.
Saifur Rahman confirmed to SBS that the signature of the High Commission's Second Secretary, Ms Shamima Pervin, had been forged on the false visas.