Thursday, May 31, 2007

URGENT APPEAL:(Update)Ensure the immediate release and proper treatment of the General Secretary of Bangladesh Awami League

BANGLADESH: ENSURE THE IMMEDIATE RELEASE AND PROPER TREATMENT OF GENERAL SECRETARY OF BANGLADESH AWAMI LEAGUE BANGLADESH INSTITUTE OF HUAMAN RIGHTS URGENT APPEAL PROGRAMME URGENT APPEAL CASE: (Update) BIHR UA-2007-05-31 DATE: May 31, 2007 ISSUE: Arbitrary arrest and detention; abuse of preventive detention under the state of emergency ================================== URGENT APPEAL BANGLADESH: Ensure the immediate release and proper treatment of the General Secretary of Bangladesh Awami League. ================================== Dear Friends, Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) has received updated information of alleged arbitrary arrest and detention under the Special Power Act (SPA), 1974 from Bangladesh. We were informed that Mr. Abdul Jalil, General Secretary of the Bangladesh Awami League party as well as the Former Minister of Trade Affairs, was arbitrarily arrested on 28 May 2007. The victim is currently being detained in preventive detention under section 3(1) of SPA. The BIHR is deeply concerned that political activist is being subjected to arbitrary arrest and detention by the caretaker government after the state of emergency was declared in January 2007. Please visit the following link to read previous appeal: http://bihr-bihr.blogspot.com/2009/06/urgent-appealensure-immediate-release.html BIOGRAPHY: Name of the Victim : Mr.Abdul Jalil, Organizer of Independent War and Former Trade Minister of Bangladesh Address : House #17; Road # 55; Gulshan-2, Dhaka Political Position General Secretary, Bangladesh Awami League Date of Arrest : 28 May 2007 Time of Arrest : Around 3:45pm Place from Arrest : Head Office, Mercantile Bank LTD, Motijheel C/A, Dhaka. FACT DETAILS: The army-led joint forces in a sudden move took Awami League (AL) General Secretary Abdul Jalil, into custody on 28 May.2007. It could not be ascertained immediately where the Awami League General Secretary was taken and on what charges he had been taken into the custody of joint forces. Jalil was picked up from his Mercantile Bank office in Motijheel around 3:45pm while he was presiding over an internal meeting of the bank. Thereafter Abdul Jalil was remanded in custody on 29 May ’07, night by a Dhaka court for interrogation about alleged corruption. He was remanded for four days at a crowded court showing arrested under section 16(2) of the Emergency Power Rules. Motijheel police produced AL General Secretary Abdul Jalil before the court of Metropolitan Magistrate Shafique Anwar at 8:15pm with a prayer for seven-day remand on 29 May ‘07. Investigation officer (IO) of the case and Officer-in-Charge (OC) of Motijheel Police Station Nasirul Alam mentioned in the forwarding report that Jalil accumulated a huge amount of wealth and money through corruption being the party general secretary. He had also been delivering provocative statements over the last few days to destabilize the country's political situation. So, he needs to be interrogated in remand. The defence lawyers argued for cancellation of the remand prayer. After hearing both the sides, the court granted a four-day remand for Jalil. STATEMENT OF SHEIKH HASINA: Awami League (AL) chief Sheikh Hasina accused the government of trying to suppress "people's wishes" and diverting focus away from the government's failure to rein in rising prices of essentials by making arrests and creating a "suffocating" environment of "fear". She demanded immediate elections as she felt that "the time limit for the state of emergency has expired". She made the comments while speaking to the press after her visit to the Mujibunnessa Eye Hospital for check-up. Hasina said, "People who are truly corrupt need to be arrested. Why are they not being arrested? They are freely roaming around...arrest them, not the politicians who have spent days in the streets fighting for the people."
"The time for an emergency has ended. We want democracy; we want people's right to vote because it is the people who have the power. They can never suppress people's wishes, but it seems like that is what they want to do," Hasina said. "They have not been able to bring down the prices of essentials. Nothing is being done about that. Instead, arrests, tortures... as if they are trying to distract people by creating a state of fear," she said, adding, "This game will not last long." "It is not even clear what they want to do. The country cannot continue under this suffocating environment," the AL chief said. She said, "Those of us who have struggled in the streets in rain and storms and endured police beatings; it seems those are the people who are suffering the greatest repression." STATEMENT OF UK & USA EMBASSEY: On 29 May ‘07, US embassy spokesman in Dhaka said those who are arrested should be informed about the charges for which they have been arrested and allowed to defend themselves. Asked about US reaction to the arrest of senior Awami League and BNP leaders, the spokesman would not comment on the specifics of any case, but said "the right to due process is a basic democratic norm". Stressing the need for informing the arrested people of the charges, he said, "There has been press speculation that Awami League General Secretary Abdul Jalil has been arrested in response to his call for lifting the ban on political activity--a call that we in the US embassy have also been making." However, the spokesman said: "I would hope that this speculation is groundless and that he (Jalil) has not been arrested for calling for basic democratic rights." Commenting on the arrest of politicians, a spokeswoman for the British high commission said, "Essentially it is an internal matter. We hope the government will follow due process." ADITINAL COMMENTS: People deserve to know reasons behind detention of Jalil. Let us make our position clear at the outset. We have been supportive of the political reform measures undertaken by the caretaker government. By the same token, we have provided our full backing to the anti-corruption crusade the administration has launched. It remains our expectation that the reforms process and the drive against corruption will be seen through to their logical conclusion. However, we are at a loss to understand why the latest wave of arrests of political leaders, especially of Awami League General Secretary Abdul Jalil, was undertaken and in such an inexplicable manner. So far, as we understand, the authorities have not explained the causes why Jalil was taken into custody. Which compels us to bring up an essential point: whenever a political leader of repute such as Jalil is arrested, it is only proper that the public be taken into confidence by the authorities. That confidence comes from giving citizens convincing arguments as to why such arrests are being made. Jalil is a veteran politician who in recent times has played a leading role not only in his own party but also in the fourteen-party alliance. His arrest, and the manner of it, will raise questions that the authorities are now expected to answer. What is to be noted is the statement by ACC Chairman Hasan Mashhud Chowdhury that Jalil's name was not on the list of people accused of corruption. There must be some other reasons that might have prompted the AL leader's arrest. What those reasons are need to be clarified by the government. At this critical juncture in the nation's history, when the administration and the country are moving towards general elections through putting in place the necessary political and electoral reforms, any ill-conceived move on the part of the authorities can jeopardise the prospects for such changes to be brought about any time soon. Arresting politician once they become vocal, as Jalil have been, quite mars the credibility of the arresting process.
The priorities today are clear. And they relate mainly to political party reforms, preparation of a voter list and eventual holding of general elections. All of these are matters over which it will be necessary for the government as well as the Election Commission to interact with the major stakeholders here, in this case the political parties. Quite legitimately, therefore, the authorities can be reminded that when their avowed goal remains a promotion and implementation of political reforms, it does not make sense for them to alienate and antagonize the political parties. It is important that the expectations placed on the caretaker government are not swept aside by moves that might leave politics in a state of disarray, to our collective discomfiture. SUGESTED ACTION: Please write to the relevant local authorities and express your deep concern about this case. Please urge the immediate release of the two victims. Please also urge the caretaker government to immediately remove the state of emergency and release the detainees arbitrary arrested during the period of the state of the emergency. PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTER TO:

1. Prof. Iajuddin Ahmed
President
People's Republic of Bangladesh
Bangabhaban, Dhaka
BANGLADESH
Tel: +880 2 9568041, 7161501/A, 8311202/ 7161503
Fax: +880 2 9566242 or 9566593 2. Dr. Fakhruddin Ahmed
Chief Adviser
Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh
Office of the Chief Advisor
Tejgaon, Dhaka
BANGLADESH
Tel: +880 2 8828160-79, 9888677
Fax: +880 2 8113244 or 3243 or 1015 or 1490 3. Mr. Sayed J. R. Modassir Hossain
Chief Justice
The Supreme Court of Bangladesh
Supreme Court Building
Ramna, Dhaka-1000
BANGLADESH
Tel: +880 2 9562792
Fax: +880 2 9565058 4. Mr. Fida M Kamal
Attorney General of Bangladesh
Office of the Attorney General
Supreme Court Building
Ramna, Dhaka-1000
BANGLADESH
Tel: +880 2 9562868
Fax: +880 2 9561568 5. Barrister Moinul Hossain
Adviser
Ministry of Law, Justice & Parliamentary Affairs
Bangladesh Secretariat
Dhaka-1000
BANGLADESH
Tel: +88-02-7160627 (O)
Fax: +88-02-7168557 (O) 6. Mr. Nur Mohammad
Inspector General of Police (IGP)
Bangladesh Police
Police Headquarters'
Fulbaria, Dhaka-1000
BANGLADESH
Tel: +880 2 9562054 or 7176451 or 7176677
Fax: +880 2 9563362 or 9563363
Thank you. Shahanur Islam Advocate Urgent Appeals Programme
Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) 27, Bijoy Nagar, Dhaka-1000, Bangladesh E-mail:saikotbihr@gmail.com; bihr@bangla.net www.bihr-bihr.blogspot.com, www.brct.org

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

URGENT APPEAL:Ensure the immediate release and proper treatment of the General Secretary of Bangladesh Awami League.

BANGLADESH: ENSURE THE IMMEDIATE RELEASE AND PROPER TREATMENT OF GENERAL SECRETARY OF BANGLADESH AWAMI LEAGUE 
 
BANGLADESH INSTITUTE OF HUAMAN RIGHTS URGENT APPEAL PROGRAMME 
 
URGENT APPEAL CASE: BIHR UA-2007-05-29 
 
DATE: May 29, 2007 
 
ISSUE: Arbitrary arrest and detention; abuse of preventive detention under the state of emergency ==================================

URGENT APPEAL BANGLADESH: Ensure the immediate release and proper treatment of the General Secretary of Bangladesh Awami League. 
================================== 
Dear Friends, Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) has received information of alleged arbitrary arrest and detention under the Special Power Act (SPA), 1974 in Bangladesh. We were informed that Mr. Abdul Jalil, General Secretary of the Bangladesh Awami League party as well as the Former Minister of Trade Affairs, was arbitrarily arrested on 28 May 2007. The BIHR is deeply concerned that political activist is being subjected to arbitrary arrest and detention by the present caretaker government after the state of emergency was declared in January 2007. 
BIOGRAPHY: 
 
Name of the Victim : Mr.Abdul Jalil, Organizer of Independent War and Former Trade Minister of Bangladesh. 
 
Political Position : General Secretary, Bangladesh Awami League 
 
Date of Detain : 28 May 2007 
 
Time of Detain : Around 3:45pm Place from Detain : Head Office, Mercantile Bank LTD, Motijheel C/A, Dhaka.
 
FACT: 
The army-led joint forces in a sudden move took Awami League (AL) General Secretary Abdul Jalil, into custody on 28 May.2007. It could not be ascertained immediately where the Awami League General Secretary was taken and on what charges he had been taken into the custody of joint forces. Jalil was picked up from his Mercantile Bank office in Motijheel around 3:45pm while he was presiding over an internal meeting of the bank.
 
STATEMENT OF JALIL’S CHAUFFEUR: Jalil's chauffeur Faruq said, “The forces searched through Jalil's residence in Gulshan for two hours yesterday evening taking away four passports and documents related to properties and bank transactions.” 
 
STATEMENT OF MERKANTILE BANK OFFICER: Mercantile Bank officials said two members of the joint forces arrived at the bank and entered the office saying that they needed to meet Jalil. The AL general secretary, who is also the chairman of the bank, sitting in his office over the last few days had been talking about a felt necessity for bringing reforms not only to political parties but also to the government and parliament.
 
STATMENTOF THE SECURITY CHIEF OF THE BANK: Security chief of the bank, Ali Akbar, told that two army officers arrived there around 3:45pm and asked Jalil to go with them. He again said, “After a little while Jalil left the office with them” 
 
STATEMENT OF THE PRESIDENT OF BANGLADESH AWAMI LEAGUE: 
Awami League (AL) President Sheikh Hasina and former prime Minister of the People Republic of Bangladesh Awami League President Sheikh Hasina has said the ongoing anti-corruption drive has virtually turned out to be one against politics and politicians.In her reaction to the press over the arrest of her party's general secretary Abdul Jalil at her Sudha Sadan residence on 28 May 2007, she said instead of apprehending the real corrupts, honest and efficient politicians were being detained which would not be accepted by the people. "At a time when MA Jalil came up with remarks on reforms, he has been arrested. He sent letters to foreign missions to know about reforms in their countries. This kind of letters does not fall under the purview of politics. Does not it fall under politics when some people announce floating of a new political party taking meals in a Chinese restaurant?" Sheikh Hasina said adding: "People want to know about the progress on reform programmes." The Awami League chief demanded immediate release of those detained leaders of Awami League including her party's general secretary Abdul Jalil.She said good governance prevails in a country where the government is regarded as the servant of its people and the Awami League government served the nation as its servant during its five-year rule when nobody could point fingers at her party stalwarts (ministers) about indulging in corruption and when prices of essentials remained stable. "If the ministers of Awami League government were found involved in corruption then the previous BNP-led alliance government would not have spared them. The alliance government could not even bring any corruption charge against the ministers of my cabinet," the former Prime Minister said. "How they (the present caretaker government) would hold free, fair and credible election in the country. There is a verdict of the Supreme Court on updating the voter list but why the work on the electoral enrolment project could not be completed in four and a half months, people want to know," the Awami League President said adding that the present caretaker government and the Election Commission would have to answer this to the nation. Referring to the Constitution, she said the duration of the State of Emergency is 120 days, which has expired. But how the country is running now and where the country is heading for? She asked. Sheikh Hasina said, "Although the present caretaker government is the fruit of our movement, it has been using steam rollers against us. People want a healthy democratic environment and the parliamentary election at the earliest. They no more want to witness a suffocating situation in the country." 
 
STAMENT OF OTHER PROMINENT POLITICAL LEADERS: 
Arrest of Awami League (AL) General Secretary Abdul Jalil, who had just taken initiative for reforms in the party, has come as a surprise to the political leaders. The political leaders think the veteran politician's arrest is linked with his recent statements calling for withdrawal of the ban on indoor politics but most of them declined to make any comment on the record, fearing that it might create difficulties for them. STATEMENT OF 
 
RASHED KHAN MENON: Workers Party President Rashed Khan Menon told "Arrest of Abdul Jalil has made us worried as he is working for positive changes in politics as well as for holding a free and fair election. Such arrest of political leaders will not bring positive result in future," 
 
STATEMENT OF HASANUL HAQUE ENU: Hasanul Haque Inu President of Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal, said, "Abdul Jalil is a front line leader and a fair politician of the country. And so, the authorities should make public the reason of his arrest without any delay." 
 
STATEMENT OF INTILIGENCE AGENCIES: 
Intelligence agencies hinted that a few more political bigwigs might be detained in the course of the third phase of the ongoing drive since the caretaker government had assumed the state power on February 12. 
 
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: 
Abdul Jalil is a prominent politician in Bangladesh and general secretary of Bangladesh Awami League. He was organizer of independent war of Bangladesh and a dedicated student leader before taking responsibility as minister. He has no record of criminal or conspiracy against country or patronizing the terrorist activities and involved in destructive action or influencing and mobilizing the slum people against the rule of law and law and order in previous. He was arrested and imposed detention intentionally only for ideological rivality and to harass politically. The action taken by the state is threatened upon his life and political carrier. It is clearly abusage of power of government. This case is an example that how the political leaders are targeted by the gov’t for the arbitrary arrest and detention under the state of emergency. The government has used this chance to arrest and detain Abdul Jalil, who is a popular political and social leader with false and vague allegation of anti-state activities, in order to harm his credibility and disgrace his social developmental activities as well as creating fear and panic among the politician. Still, there is no fundamental and human rights in Bangladesh. Joint forces led by army are arresting political leaders with out any allegation and present situation of Bangladesh has been turned in to out of rule of law. 
 
SUGESTED ACTION: Please write to the relevant local authorities and express your deep concern about this case. Please urge the immediate release of the two victims. Please also urge the caretaker government to immediately remove the state of emergency and release the detainees arbitrary arrested during the period of the state of the emergency. 
 
PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTER TO: 
1. Prof. Iajuddin Ahmed President People's Republic of Bangladesh Bangabhaban, Dhaka BANGLADESH Tel: +880 2 9568041, 7161501/A, 8311202/ 7161503/A Fax: +880 2 9566242 or 9566593 
 
2. Dr. Fakhruddin Ahmed Chief Adviser Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh Office of the Chief Advisor Tejgaon, Dhaka BANGLADESH Tel: +880 2 8828160-79, 9888677 Fax: +880 2 8113244 or 3243 or 1015 or 1490 
 
3. Mr. Sayed J. R. Modassir Hossain Chief Justice The Supreme Court of Bangladesh Supreme Court Building Ramna, Dhaka-1000 BANGLADESH Tel: +880 2 9562792 Fax: +880 2 9565058 
 
4. Mr. Fida M Kamal Attorney General of Bangladesh Office of the Attorney General Supreme Court Building Ramna, Dhaka-1000 BANGLADESH Tel: +880 2 9562868 Fax: +880 2 9561568 
 
5. Barrister Moinul Hossain Adviser Ministry of Law, Justice & Parliamentary Affairs Bangladesh Secretariat Dhaka-1000 BANGLADESH Tel: +88-02-7160627 (O) Fax: +88-02-7168557 (O) 
 
6. Mr. Nur Mohammad Inspector General of Police (IGP) Bangladesh Police Police Headquarters' Fulbaria, Dhaka-1000 BANGLADESH Tel: +880 2 9562054 or 7176451 or 7176677 Fax: +880 2 9563362 or 9563363 
 
Thank you. 
 
 
Shahanur Islam 
Advocate
Urgent Appeals Programme 
Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) 
27, Bijoy Nagar, Dhaka-1000, Bangladesh
E-mail:saikotbihr@gmail.com; bihr@bangla.net