Friday, January 15, 2010

Manik Saha killing day and journalists oppression in Bangladesh

By Jahangir Alam Akash, Monjurul Ahsan Bulbul, is a world famous and prominent journalist who is the executive editor of an oldest Bengali newspaper of Bangladesh the daily Sangbad. Recently he was told that without investigative journalism no one could exist in the field of journalism. I would like to agree with his valuable speech. But, I would like to ask him regarding an investigative journalism and the problem of Bangladesh. If you want to continue your investigative journalism impartially or truly (with due respect professionally) on state killing-torture or human rights violation from the Bangladesh then you would be victimized illegally that no doubt. This is a great true for Bangladesh and I myself it’s an example.(Please watch it: I was made several investigated report on extra judicial killings, minority oppression, corruption and Islamic militancy for CSB News (TV news channel), Radio German DW and for my dear newspaper the daily Sangbad, which were broadcasted and published. By my professional activities I was obtained some enemies from a few influential political leaders and administrative officials who were affected by my reporting. And they were taken revenged against me during the emergency in 2007-2008. Only for my investigative journalism as a professional journalist now I am living an exile life. So, I want to ask him that, how the journalists would continued with investigative journalism? Now I want to share latest situation of the press freedom in Bangladesh. Recently the English national newspaper New Age has published an alarming report on journalist’s persecution by the ruling party men. Though, the present ruling party Awami League was committed to the nation that they will ensure the freedom of press just before the last general election, even they were included this commitment into their electoral manifesto. But, now their party men even some of law makers of the ruling party were hampered the press freedom by torturing, threatening, intimidating, false and motivated cases and other various ways on the journalists. At least 229 newsmen have reportedly come under attacks by lawmen and influential quarters, which has hampered press freedom and harmed the people’s right to know during the elected government of Sheikh Hasina that assumed office on January 6, 2009. There have been reports on torture of reporters in custody and cases filed by influential quarters against reporters in many places only to harass them, according to the New Age. It has been reported that journalists of both the print and the electronic media are facing the wrath of the ruling party activists apparently for reporting on incidents of tender manipulation, extortion, corruption, land grab and other irregularities and mismanagement. Many journalists in different areas have gone into hiding for fear of life. In the present government regime from 6th January to till to date 229 journalists were attacked or harassed, 3 of them were killed, 71 wounded 36 assaulted and 68 threatened. On 22nd October, the Rapid Action Battalion tortured a staff reporter of the New Age, FM Masum in public and in custody. But the police till date have not registered any case in this connection. The Jatrabari police on October 24 received Masum’s complaint but declined to record it as a case. Masum, who was picked up by a RAB 10 team from his house, was critically injured. Masum is still suffering because of the injuries done by the battalion personnel. The battalion headquarters just regretted in writing and said the incident had happened because of ‘misunderstanding.’ The battalion team, was led by flight lieutenant Anisur Rahman, beat Masum up and rubbed salt to the injuries and took him to the battalion’s unit office. The officer responsible was withdrawn later to Armed Forces Division and this has remained the only action taken so far in this connection, according to official sources. According to the newspapers of Bangladesh, M Abdullah, a special correspondent of the daily Amar Desh, was attacked by some assailants at Banani in Dhaka on 19th December, two days after a report against the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s son and her energy adviser had been published in the same newspaper. Amar Desh acting editor Mahmudur Rahman now faces around two dozen defamation cases for publishing that report. Awami League leaders gave angry reactions to the news report at a discussion the day after the report had been published. The state minister for LGRD, Jahangir Kabir Nanak, referring to the Amar Desh editor Mahmudur Rahman, said, ‘Do not stretch us to the limit. If people get angry, you will not be able to go out in public.’ According to the newspapers reports, the media have reported on numerous incidents of such physical attack on newsmen, filing of cases against them and threat and harassment in different other forms by ruling party activists. Some incidents of attack on the houses and business establishments of district correspondents of different newspapers have also taken place during the period. Ruling Party of Awami League lawmaker ABM Abul Kashem Master’s sons SM Al Mamun and SM Al Noman and their cousin Mahmudul Hasan Manna earlier assaulted Prothom Alo reporter Pranab Bol, photojournalist Rashed Mahmud, Sitakunda correspondent of Samakal M Sekandar and Sitakunda Press Club president Forkan Abu when they were gathering news of land grab of four shipyards at Kumira by Awami League men. Chhatra League activists on 15th January forced Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University correspondents of Amar Desh, Ittefaq, Amader Samay, Naya Diganta, Dinkal and Inqilab to leave the halls for reporting on incidents of violence and other ‘misdeeds’ of the activists of the Awami League backed students organization. Kushtia correspondent of the ancient and progressive newspaper daily Sangbad, Mamun Reza was needed to be admitted to hospital after he had been beaten by Awami League activists on 4th February. Awami League lawmaker Sarah Begum Kabari slapped local daily newspaper Sitalakkhya’s photojournalist Sheikh Shahidul Islam Sentu in Narayanganj on 15th March. Another historical newspaper of Bangladesh the daily Ittefaq’s staff reporter and Destiny correspondent were attacked on 2nd April and correspondents of Inqilab and Bhorer Dak were assaulted by ruling party activists in Khulna for reporting on an incident of grabbing of a shrimp enclosure by local Awami League leaders and activists. Naya Diganta and Desh Bangla correspondents were on 14th May wounded by Awami League activists on the campus of Patuakhali University of Science and Technology. Chhatra League activists assaulted Amar Desh correspondent in Chittagong University on 15th May. A team of private television channel Banglavision was attacked by Awami League activists in Munshiganj on 7th June when they went there to report on political killings. Chhatra League activists on 23rd June wounded Inqilab correspondent in Khagrachari for reporting on incidents of extortion. Awami League activists attacked the house of Samakal correspondent at Ishwardi in Pabna on July 27 for publishing a report. Chhatra League and Juba League activists in Chuadanga on September 4 attacked the business enterprise and house of Prothom Alo correspondent Shah Alam in reaction to a report. Shah Alam and his family have reportedly taken shelter in Dhaka as the ruling party men forced them to leave the area. The ruling party men also filed defamation cases against special correspondents Kamrul Hasan and Shah Alam of the daily Prothom Alo on September 4 and 6. Chhatra League and Juba League activists on September 1 set fire to a shop in Chuadanga, owned by Amar Desh correspondent Ariful Islam Dalim, and also burnt copies of the daily newspaper for publishing a report that angered Awami League lawmaker Solaiman Huq Joarder. They also attacked Ariful’s house, assaulted his wife and children and looted valuables. On the day, they also attacked business enterprises of Janakantha correspondent Rajib Ahmed Kochi and Prothom Alo correspondent Shah Alam in Chuadanga for publishing similar reports. They also sued Ariful and Shah Alam, along with some BNP activists, after a clash between Awami League and BNP activists. Banglavision, RTV and Diganta TV correspondents were assaulted by Awami League activists on September 9 when they were going to Galachipa to gather information on the two reporters of Prothom Alo and Amar Desh who were sued on ‘false charges.’ Jai Jai Din correspondent Shahin was attacked by ruling party activists at Sharsha in Jessore on September 13 when he was discharging his professional duty. The Sharsha police refused to register any case against the attackers. In Jhenaidah, local goons backed allegedly by the ruling party, issued a death threat to and filed a murder case against Amar Desh correspondent Sheikh Ruhul Amin on September 22 for writing a report on crimes committed by Chhatra League activists. On September 23, Borhan Uddin Rabbani, Jugantor correspondent in Shariatpur, was sued on extortion charges after a report had been published in the daily newspaper on the district Awami League organizing secretary Delwar Hossain. Since Bangladesh became independent, about 29 journalists (including an extra ordinary writer Dr. Humayun Azad) have been killed by terrorists. And just past the day (15 January, 2010) was the murder day of patriotic journalist Manik Saha. But there has yet to be a full investigation and punishment for the killers. Our clear demand is that, persecution and intimidation of journalists will be stopped. All false cases filed against them will be withdrawn. And should exemplary punish to the perpetrators and killers of journalists, that was the commitment of the present government. Without an actual democracy, the rule of law, and good governance, it’s not possible to stop acts of repression. We know that there is no actual democracy or rule of law in Bangladesh. The community of journalists in Bangladesh is waiting for justice for their killed and tortured colleagues. I think that if Bangladesh’s society does not undergo a qualitative change, then freedom of the press is far from becoming a practical reality. It is necessary to punish those who perpetrate human rights violations and that the Bangladesh government should stop giving them impunity, for the greater interest of democracy and peace.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Rights of minorities suppressed in Bangladesh

By Jahangir Alam Akash, Bangladesh is a non-secular state where violence and oppression against minorities has always been a big issue. Although the country attained independence nearly four decades ago, rights of minorities continue to be suppressed.

Around 9 to 13 percent of Bangladesh’s population is minorities, which includes Hindus, Buddhists, Christians and other indigenous people. The majority are Muslims. Although the Hindu community played a strong role in Bangladesh’s struggle for independence, the state has forgotten their sacrifice. Governments under General Ziaur Rahman and General H.M.Ershad are responsible for building Bangladesh into an Islamist state.

It is time the present government re-established minority rights and re-united with the various minority communities. They must accept the leaders of minority communities without conditions in a most impartial manner. The minority community while allying with the government should forget political aspirations, which could impede their fight for rights.

Votes and minority repression are very closely related to each other. Persecution of minorities is influenced by both, religion and politics. The country’s two big political parties and the anti liberation force Jammat are responsible for the oppression of minorities. Jammat was mainly responsible for killing, torturing and raping Hindu’s during the freedom struggle.

After three military regimes and almost 17 years under so-called democratic governments, Bangladesh’s notorious black law – the Vested Property Act has still not been scrapped.

I want to mention a report on minority repression that was politically motivated. An investigative report was published on Feb. 19, 2003 in the oldest Bengali newspaper of Bangladesh – the Daily Sangbad with the headline “giving vote is illegal.” During a Union Parishad election campaign, supporters of the Muslim Awami candidate threatened the minorities and told them that voting for the opposition Hindu candidate was illegal.

In other similar incidents, National Awami Party leader Vobesh Pande and his family members were physically attacked in 2000 by the Awami League leader Amanul Hasan Dudu and his cadres and brothers who threatened and warned them saying, “If you want to live in Bangladesh then you must pay tax to us.”

An Awami supporter harassed eminent scientist Arun Basak. Professor Mojibor Rahman was a teacher of Mathematics department of Rajshahi University. After witnessing the brutal atrocities on minorities by the Pakistani army and Jammat supporters, he changed his name to Devdas to protest against the inhuman atrocities committed against minorities. He was tortured in an army camp during independence war.

Jammat and the Bangladesh National Party are the main perpetrators. It is not true that the Awami League is not involved in suppressing rights of minorities. After the general election in 2001, cadres of the BNP-Jammat alliance were involved in such incidents.

We can never forget the atrocities against minorities during the regime of the BNP-Jammat government, especially the gang rape of our little sister Purnima by the BNP cadres. Recently, the present government formed a committee to investigate the atrocities during the BNP-Jammat government. This is a good decision, but why only the BNP-Jammat regime?

We demand that enquiries be conducted into all such incidents since 1971 and punish the perpetrators.

The minority community of Bangladesh organized an international minority conference in Geneva. The three-day conference had many participants. I was also invited. Arun Barua, one of the organizers was the main force behind the conference.

I think it was not a minority rights based conference but rather an Awami conference. The minority community was divided with one group absent. One panel speaker could not give his speech due to a conspiracy by some Awami supporters although the speaker was also an Awami supporter. It was believed that the speech contained issues against the Awami League, which would be made public.

I want to see Bangladesh become a secular state. I hope that the minorities get their rights and the community remains united.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

145 killed under Awami government in extra judicially

By Jahangir Alam Akash, Bangladesh’s elite Rapid Action Battalion continues to engage in extrajudicial killings despite Supreme Court directives to halt it. Although the court is handling the issue of extrajudicial killings, RAB does not seem to be bothered either about the judiciary or the country’s laws.

At least 13 people were killed in RAB’s custody since the court issued a suo moto order on Nov. 17, last year asking the government for an explanation into such types of killings.

According to the English langauage national newspaper of Bangladesh, The Daily Star, another murder attempt by the RAB took place in Dhaka on January 6. According to the newspaper, a gunfight between RAB personnel and a “gang of criminals’ in the city’s Naya Paltan area wounded one of the gang members.

The wounded 23-year-old Alamgir Hossain of Hizla in Barisal district was rushed to Dhaka Medical College Hospital with bullet wounds to his leg. He was later shifted to Pongu Hospital. RAB-3 officials said that acting on a tip-off they went to Culvert Road at Naya Paltan around 12:30 a.m. to nab the criminals. Sensing the presence of the RAB team, the criminals opened fire on the elite force that also retaliated, triggering a gun battle. At one stage, when Alamgir was shot, his accomplices managed to flee.
And latest crossfire was happened on 12th January, 2010 in the capital Dhaka by RAB. The killed was identified as Firoz alias Kosai Firoz, 30, of Kafrul area in Mirpur (Source: the daily Star, 13th January, 2010).

But people in Bangladesh know that the above story is totally false and fabricated. They are hearing such stories since 2004. Around 1,600 peoples have been killed in crossfire, gunfights or police encounters since 2002. Last year, law enforcement agencies in the country killed a total of 145 people.

The High Court on Dec. 14, last year expressed grave concern over the recurring extrajudicial killings even as 11 people were killed in custody since the issuance of a suo moto order on Nov. 17, asking the government for an explanation on the matter.

During the court hearing, the Attorney General was asked to convey the court’s concern to the director general of RAB. The High Court also asked the Attorney General to take initiatives so that no such killings took place till the next hearing scheduled for January 9. In addition, the HC also asked the state’s top law officer for the names of RAB officials of Madaripur that were involved in detaining two brothers Lutfor and Khairul Khalasi who were killed on November 16.

When the present ruling Awami League party was in opposition, they often raised their voices against extrajudicial killings. Not only that, during the last general election, which brought them to power, they often said that extrajudicial killings should be stopped. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also told the international community that her government did not support extrajudicial killings. Indeed, the government’s attitude, work and words on this issue of crossfire are unfortunately inappropriate.

The assertions of responsible people in the present government are shocking. Home minister Sahara Khatun recently said that, there was no crossfire. It seems, either directly or indirectly, the home minister and other minister’s are defending the perpetrators of such “crossfire” killings.

We the people of Bangladesh would like to urge the government to stop all extrajudicial killings immediately. We also urge all political parties, the media and civil society to oppose any extrajudicial killings for the sake of peace.

We strongly believe that extrajudicial killings and the process of police remand are very disturbing to the society, nation and democracy and that any perpetrators should be brought to justice.

Perhaps a committee comprising of a retired justice, an assistant inspector general level police officer, the media and human rights activists and civil society representative should investigate each of the extrajudicial killings, and make the findings public.

We are struggling to make our society more civilized and democratic. So, the rule of law must be upheld. Otherwise, would there be any alternative to saying that we are civilized?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

143 crossfire under Awami government

By Jahangir Alam Akash, Elite force of Bangladesh called Rapid Action Battalion (RAB). We had hoped that after the intervene of the highest court of Bangladesh (Supreme Court), RAB and police would be changed. But, still they haven’t changed. Still they have been doing extra judicial killings. Though, the matter of extra judicial killings is now under the court. Actually, RAB don’t bother to anybody, even court order. At least 12 people were killed in custody since its November 17 suo-moto rule upon the government for an explanation on the matter.
According to the English national newspaper of Bangladesh, the daily Star, an attempt to extra judicial killing has happened in the capital of Dhaka. The newspaper writes that, a so called gunfight between the members of Rapid Action Battalion and a ‘gang of criminals’ in the city’s Naya Paltan area early on 6th January, 2010 left an extortionist wounded. The wounded Alamgir Hossain, 23, of Hizla upazila under Barisal district, was rushed to Dhaka Medical College Hospital with bullet wounds in his leg. He was later shifted to Pongu Hospital. RAB-3 officials said acting on a tip-off; they went to Culvert Road at Naya Paltan around 12:30 am to nab the criminals. Sensing the presence of the RAB team, the criminals opened fire on the elite force that also retaliated with gunshots triggering the gun battle. At one stage, Alamgir received bullet wounds during the shootout while his accomplices managed to flee. And the latest crossfire was happened in the capital Dhaka on 9th January, 2010. The killed, Appel Mahmud Suman, 26.
The country men have well known that this story is totally false and fabricated which were made by law enforcers. The peoples have been seeing this type of story since 2004. Around 1,600 peoples have killed by so-called heart attacked, crossfire, gunfight or encounter since 2002. In the last 12 months a total of 143 people were killed by law enforcing agencies in the country since 7th January to December of 2009.

The High Court on 14th December, 2009 expressed grave concern over persistence of extrajudicial killings as 11 people were killed in custody since issuance of a suo-moto rule upon the government on November 17 for an explanation on the matter.

During hearing on the rule the court asked the attorney general to convey its concern to the director general of RAB. The HC also asked him to take initiatives so that no such killings take place till the next hearing on the matter scheduled for January 9. In addition, the HC also asked the state’s top law officer to place the names of RAB officials of Madaripur involved in detaining two brothers Lutfor Rahman Khalasi and Khairul Haque Khalasi who were killed on November 16.

When the present ruling party Awami League was opposition then they often raised their voice against extra judicial killings or crossfire. Not only that, before the last general election even after came in power they told very often that extra judicial killing they must be stopped. Being a Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also told to the international community that their government isn’t support to crossfire or extra judicial killings. Indeed, the government attitude, work and words about crossfire are very unfortunate.
The assertions of very responsible personalities of this government are shocking. Home minister Sahara Khatun recently told that, there is no crossfire. We are afraid for that, directly and indirectly the home minister and other some minister’s even Prime Minister were defence to ‘crossfire’ killings.
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?
Both governmental and nongovernmental sources have said that the death toll has reached 143 from such extrajudicial killings – labeled as “crossfire” killings, “encounter” killings or “gunfight” killings by the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and the police – since January 6, 2009 (January 6 of 2009 to January 9 of 2010) 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.
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.
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.
According to the, 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.”
In conclusion, I 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.

A close experience on RAB atrocities:

Personally, I have also been victimized by the recent past authority for my activities as a journalist, writer and human rights activist. I was tortured for 15 hours. My crime was that I was made several investigative reports about the RAB’s offenses of extrajudicial killings, Islamic militancy and Indigenous and minority torture as well as corruption and political terrorism.

I want to paint a picture of the violation of the rule of law and human rights in Bangladesh. The RAB arrested a terrorist named Benazir on May 2, 2007, on the charges of possession of illegal arms. While arresting him, they shot both of his legs in front of his minor daughter and his wife. Benazir is now crippled with two bullet marks on his feet. He is also detained in the hospital area of the Rajshahi central jail. The RAB did not find any arms in his possession.
Another killing was happened in the name of ‘Encounter’ by RAB-5. RAB murdered a local Workers party leader Maznu Sheikh alias Kamrul Islam at Chotobongram in Rajshahi city on May 18, 2007. I reported about these on CSB News and broadcasted interviews of their relatives (wife, mother, brother and localities). In the same time I was published these report on the daily Sangbad and broadcasted in DW Radio.
When Benazir was shot, it was reported by me on CSB News. None of the RAB personnel who were involved in the alleged operation agreed to give statements in front of a television camera regarding the incident. In the evening, I send the report to our head office in Dhaka from our bureau office in Rajshahi. In a news bulletin broadcasted at 1:00 a.m. the following morning, the report was broadcast.
Then, at 9:33 p.m. that evening, I received a call from RAB officer Major Rashidul Hasan Rashid. Soon as I As soon as I picked up the phone, the caller asked me why the broadcasting of the news piece about the RAB’s operation was stopped after being aired only twice. In reply, I told him that “it is up to the head office.” Major Rashid became annoyed with me and said, “You broadcasted this report intentionally.” I replied, “It is my professional duty, nothing more than that.”

He asked, “Why did you broadcast someone crying and the statements of Benazir’s wife and daughter?” In response, I asked him, “Do you want to know it officially?”
At this stage, Major Rashid became very rude. I cannot mention the words he shouted at me in our language, since the language was very bad. He was outraged and said, “If you fail to give the right answer about why you broadcast the report, then I shall take actions against you.” I said, “I have not committed any crime.”

Major Rashid asked again, “Why did the other TV channels not broadcast the same report? You did it intentionally and your actions belong to ‘anti-state activity’.” He also said, “Make sure that you, any of your colleagues, and the CSB News camera are never seen within the jurisdiction and activities of the RAB. If they are, then the RAB will take action against you.”

After that, he hung up. I complained to the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) and Amnesty International and other human rights and media organizations as well as DW authority regarding this threat. Then AHRC was given a letter to the government. After then, an investigation was commissioned. After giving a detailed report, I signed my written statement, which was received with signature and official chop by the reader to assistant police commissioner in Boalia, Rajshahi on July 3, 2007.

Mr. Golam Mostofa, the field officer of the National Security Intelligence questioned me regarding the said intimidation and threats, on July 15, 2007. Then, at around 6:00 p.m. on July 22, 2007, Mr. Moyeen, an inspector of the Special Branch of the city of Rajshahi visited my office and took my statement. Inspector Moyeen also asked about the threat I felt, and I replied that the RAB is involved in extrajudicial killings and I feared that I could become the victim of such a killing. I reported that I have been continuing my work, but I still worried that the RAB or his men might target me for further harassment or intimidation.

So I became a target. I have been charged multiple times with false and political motivated charges and have been arrested, tortured and detained. I was arrested from my house at midnight and tortured in front of my wife, child and rental house owners. I was taken to the RAB-5 office. I was hung from the ceiling with my hands tied with ropes and was beaten mercilessly on my feet and my back. I was kept hanging from the ceiling with ropes around my hands, with the mask on my face. And also they gave me electric shocks.
When I was being tortured I was being shouted at with words like: “Will you do the Benazir report again…?” “Litchi garden report again…” ‘Khairuzzaman Liton’s family report again…” Now face the consequences; son of a pig… son of a bitch…” etc. The RAB would like to be able to kill me, and officially call the killing a “crossfire” or “encounter.”

RAB sent me to the local police with the charge under the section 16(2) of Emergency Power Rules 2007. I was under medical attention in the Rajshahi central jail for 10 days. As a new detainee, I was sent to the case table in front of the jail house’s trial court on my first day. When I went to case table, two fellow inmates had to hold me on both sides. I had no power to walk. I could not even sit properly, but could only put pressure on one side of my rear, when sitting. I broke into tears. Many cases were lodged against me. I felt I was being prepared to be killed in a “crossfire” or “encounter.”
There is more shocking news I have learned about a key perpetrator, Major Rashidul Hassan Rashid, an RAB military officer who played the leading role in the extrajudicial killings of Ahsan Habib Babu, a student’s league leader; Kamrul Islam, alias Maznu Sheikh, a Workers Party leader; Ali Jafor Babu, a prominent businessman; and about twenty others. Some people like Benazir and a jail guard, Shahebul Islam, were highly affected and disabled by their torture. Major Rashid has been recruited to serving in the U.N. peacekeeping mission in the Ivory Coast; he joined the UN mission on July 10, 2008. This makes it clear how well the Bangladeshi authorities look into human rights abuses and treat the victims and the perpetrators.

I want to say I have been giving high price for press freedom and human rights with my whole family. Only for my professional activity my father in law was lost his political carrier. Though, he has been belonging with Bangladesh Awmai League from last 42 years. After my persecution I have been paralyzed socially, economically, mentally and physically. Not only that, I have lost my job, dignity, reputation. How I will recover my dignity, reputation and all other loses? How could I get justice and when the perpetrator Major Rashid and others those who have involved to torturing me would take punish?
We would like to urge to the government please should stop extra judicial killing immediately. And we also urge to all political parties, media and civil society please to raise voice against extra judicial killings and all kind of inhumanity for the peace and happiness and for the rule of law and human rights. We strongly saying that, Extra-judicial killings and the process of police remand are very disturbing for the judiciary and rule of law and a great suicidal for the society, nation and democracy. Extra-judicial killing must be stopped. No further killing in crossfire. Bring anyone to justice if accused of criminal charges.

Might be a committee comprised of a retired justice, an AIG level of police officer, media and human rights personalities, law maker, and civil society representative should investigate each of the extra-judicial killings, and make the findings public. We are struggling for make a civilized and democratic society. The rule of law must uphold. Otherwise in front of us have no alternative to say that, we are a civilized?


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Jahangir Alam Akash-Editor of Euro Bangla


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Jahangir Alam Akash Editor Euro Bangla