Family optimistic after UofT student released on bail in Bangladesh


TORONTO – The family of a Toronto university student who was detained in Bangladesh after surviving a terrorist attack is expressing cautious optimism now that the young man has been released on bail.

Tahmid Hasib Khan, a permanent resident of Canada, was detained after a bloody July 1 attack at a restaurant in the Bangladeshi capital, but his family has firmly maintained his innocence.

On Sunday, a Bangladesh court released Khan on bail in Dhaka, the country’s capital.

The development came after police filed documents with the court saying they did not oppose bail as investigators had found no evidence against the 22-year-old.

“Although this is not over, this is great progress,” said Khan’s older brother, Talha, who is a Canadian citizen and lives in Toronto.

“My parents are elated, but at the same time they are a little anxious because it’s not over 100 per cent.”

Tahmid Khan is an undergraduate student studying global health at the University of Toronto and hopes to eventually become a Canadian citizen, his family has said.

He had arrived in Dhaka on July 1 to celebrate Eid with his family, and planned to travel to Nepal to begin an internship with UNICEF the following week.

He was with friends at the Holey Artisan Bakery when five armed gunmen attacked, killing 20 people and holding others inside hostage. Security forces stormed the restaurant on July 2, killing the gunmen and rescuing the remaining hostages.

Ever since surviving the attack, Khan has been held by authorities in what has become a confusing case.

He was first taken into custody for questioning. His family was initially allowed brief contact with him but then lost touch with him for days until police formally announced his arrest at the beginning of August.

Police were granted permission to interview Khan and his detention was then extended until he was ordered into “judicial custody” in mid August.

That resulted in him being sent from a police station, where he had been held, to an area of a prison where those whose cases are still in progress are detained, his family had said.

Now, after three months of detention, Khan is currently with his parents in Dhaka, his brother said, and appears to be doing well.

“Tahmid is in good health, both physically and mentally,” his brother said, adding that his family remains grateful for the support they’ve received from Canada and Canadians.

The young man’s case, however, hasn’t been entirely resolved, and it is unclear what steps authorities will take next.

Local media have reported that Khan is to appear in court on Wednesday.

Global Affairs Canada has said Canadian officials were monitoring Khan’s situation.

© Copyright Times Colonist

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