Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Killings without justice!!!
By Jahangir Alam Akash, The term "extrajudicial killing" means execution without justice. This is a grave human rights violation. It’s both a violation of Bangladesh's constitution and of the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights. But these types of killings still occur frequently in Bangladesh.
The State Minister for Home Affairs and the Prime Minister of Bangladesh openly support the extrajudicial killings, despite the fact that Bangladesh signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention Against Torture. Not only that, the constitution of Bangladesh also safeguards the right to life.
The government of Bangladesh has been violating the constitution and Universal Declaration of Human Rights since 2004. According to Art. 35(5) of the constitution of Bangladesh and Art. 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment." And according to Art. 3 of the constitution of Bangladesh, "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person." But, in practice, Bangladesh does not ensure the right to life and has not complied with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the constitution of Bangladesh.
We can see that state institutions such as the judiciary, the rule of law, regulations, the constitution and the national assembly have been disabled. The media's role regarding extrajudicial killings covered up under reports of "crossfire", "gunfights" or "encounters" is negative and constrained. The media has only been publishing the normal reports about these encounters filed by the RAB or the police themselves.
A few human rights organizations have long been asking the government to stop the killings, terming them "extrajudicial". Moreover, the High Court of Bangladesh, on June 29, 2009, asked the government to explain why killing people without a trial, in the form of extrajudicial killings, is not being declared as illegal, and why measures are not being taken against the perpetrators. After this ruling, we still haven't seen anything happen.
Extrajudicial killings continue even in violation of the High Court's ruling. How can they continue? It’s very alarming for human rights, democracy and the right to life. And why is the High Court silent regarding this gross human rights violation?
According to the daily Star, on 16th November in Madaripur two brothers were killed by RAB in the name of so-called ‘shootout’. The dead were identified as Lutfor Rahman Khalasi, 45, and his younger brother Khairul Haque Khalasi, 28, of Kotbari Srinodi village in the upazila of Madaripur.
In July last year, their another brother Obaidur Khalasi killed in a similar "shootout". Lutfor Khalasi's wife Jharna Begum and son Bablu Khalasi, 20, claimed that Madaripur RAB did not give them any information after the RAB men picked up Lutfor and Khairul Saturday morning. At a press conference in Madaripur on 14th November, 2009, Jharna Begum and Bablu appealed for not killing the brothers in the name of crossfire.
They also mentioned in the press conference that RAB-3 had arrested the brothers from Rupganj in Narayanganj around 1:00am on 14th November. Jharna and Bablu were apprehensive that instead of handing the brothers over to police, RAB might take them to Madaripur and kill them in the name of an attempt to recover illegal arms. On receiving the news of their death, Jharna and Bablu claimed that the RAB team killed the two after knowing about the home ministry sending a directive for not putting them in crossfire.
Latest extra judicial killings has happened in Jhenidah on 17th November, 2009. Here the police was killed to Hasan alias Boma Hasan alias Batam, 35, son of Sayed Ali of Defolbaria village in Sadar upazila in Jhenidah.
On the other hand, the High Court on (same day) 17th November, 2009 issued a suo moto rule upon the government to explain within 48 hours why the killings of Lutfor Rahman Khalasi and Khairul Haque Khalasi of Madaripur in custody should not be declared illegal. The HC bench of Justice AFM Abdur Rahman and Justice Md Emdadul Haque Azad issued the rule following a newspaper report on the extra judicial killings. The home secretary, the director general of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and the commanding officer of RAB-8 have been made respondents to reply the rule.
Both governmental and nongovernmental sources have said that the death toll has reached 130 from such extrajudicial killings - labeled as "crossfire" killings, "encounter" killings or "gunfight" killings by the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and the police - since Jan. 6, (January 7 to November 17, 2009) when the Awami League-led government assumed office. In Bangladesh, we have a so-called democracy, but there is no rule of law. Every day sees more killings of citizens by the state machinery, killings which are both well-planned and covered up.
According to the daily Star, Home Minister Sahara Khatun on 17th November, 2009 claimed that no incident of ‘crossfire’ took place in the country since the Awami League-led government took over early this year. “We are not carrying out any crossfire right now. No such incident took place since our government assumed office,” he told journalists after a special law and order meeting at the home ministry. Her comments came immediately after the High Court asked the government and the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) for an explanation in 48 hours about the shooting and killing of two brothers in Madaripur. The court also asked them why the killings should not be declared extra-judicial.
The government of Bangladesh has sided with the extrajudicial killings. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has also said, in an indirect way, that extrajudicial killings will continue. She spoke clearly, upholding "crossfire" killings. What was said by our popular Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in New York is very unfortunate for the rule of law, democracy, the constitution, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as the people of Bangladesh.
Sheikh Hasina talked with journalists in New York on Sept. 27, 2009. Referring to "crossfire" killings at the time, she said, “I do not believe in extrajudicial killings. But if anyone launches an armed attack (against a law enforcer), then they shouldn't be allowed to kill them like sitting ducks.” (Source: Bdnews24.com).
The government of Bangladesh has been violating the constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights day after day since 2004. In 2004, the BNP-Jamaat government made a decision about extrajudicial killings and formed the RAB. From March 26, 2004 until Oct. 21, 2009, around 1,600 people have been killed without justice.
On the other hand, around 58 peoples have killed in the name of so-called heart attacked in the custody of joint forces in the regime of BNP-Jammat. In present regime around 50 BDR have killed in same way after mutiny.
In conclusion, we want to say that the reports of so-called "crossfire" killings, "encounter" killings or "gunfight" killings that are made by the RAB and the police are totally false. I believe that terrorism should never be combated or controlled through state killings. It is the establishment of the rule of law that is essential to control terrorism. 17.11.2009
Posted by Jahangir Alam Akash-Editor Euro Bangla at 2:02 AM
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