Saturday, April 12, 2008

STATEMENT:On United States Human Rights (USHR) report on Bangladesh dated 27 March 2008 the home affairs Adviser Mr. M. A Matin of Bangladesh.......

Adv. Shahanur Islam Saikot Programme Manager-Legal & Human Rights On United States Human Rights (USHR) report on Bangladesh dated 27 March 2008 the home affairs Adviser Mr. M. A Matin of Bangladesh caretaker Govt. has evaluated as “lack of Balance” on the following grounds: - (1) That the report has not acknowledged the reform of (a) Election commission (b) Public Service commission (c) Anticorruption commission (d) Separation of judiciary (e) Revision of police Act with adherence to human rights principles and standards (f) initiative to establish a National Human Rights commission. (2) Those extrajudicial killings by Law enforcing agencies including Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) have been reduced than the previous time. (3) That there was no design of the Care Taker (C T) government to send the two former prime Ministers Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia to exile. So their arrest for failure to implement that design of the C T government is not fact. If those comments of Mr. M A Matin are re-evaluated the real facts are revealed as follows: There has not been any reformation of Election commission, Public service commission and Anticorruption commission because the structures, rules of those commissions have been remaining same as formulated by the previous govt. This C T govt. forced the previous chairman and members of those commissions to resign from their posts under the threat of instituting anticorruption case creating willful discrimination of their property statements under Emergency Power Rules (EPR) and put them into detention and pre-decided conviction. On their forced resignation the present chairman and members have been appointed to fill up the vacancies. The filling up the vacancies in no way can be termed as the reformation of those commissions. For separation of judiciary one Mr. Mazdar Hossain, instituted a sue in the High court division in the year 1998. Exhausting all legal procedure the Appellate Division of Supreme Court ordered the govt. to separate judiciary from executive. The caretaker govt. had no option but to implement the order of the Supreme Court to be saved from contempt proceeding. So separation of judiciary cannot go to the credit of the C T govt. The revision of police Act V of 1861 is in the form of ideas. So how it is claimed that police Act has been revised with adherence to human rights. The existing police Act in no way have allowed any police officer to violate human rights. The same police Act is being followed in India. If the police are allowed to act as per existing Police Act and law without having induced by the govt. to take revengeful action against their rivals through, misrepresentation of the law existing police Act is quite effective to implement discipline in police force against violation of human rights. But unfortunately the CT govt. misusing the EPR an misinterpretation of law has been using the police to institute false cases against their targeted rivals who are voicing for early election and handing over power to the people representative. The so-called revision of police Act is nothing but a slogan to bluff the national and international communities. Not formulation of new law but the ethical behavior of the Govt. is the prime pre-requisite to uphold the rule of law and thereby automatically human rights are protected. Initiative to establish a national human right commission so far is nothing but a paper work by the CT govt. In practice the Military backed CT govt. / quasi-Military govt. is guided by the invisible govt. the Military secret service, Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI). The DGFI is structured in the form of inter service intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan. Since after promulgation of Emergency Power Ordinance (EPO) and enactment of emergency power rules on 11.01.2007 and 12.01.2007 respectively the Military under the guidance of DGFI is very active to annihilate the popular leader of two democratic political parties, Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and Bangladesh Awami Legue (AL) from the future political activities with a design to empower their puppet govt. through a rubber stamp parliament whose members will be elected through direct participation of Military in the name of law and forcing agencies to polling centre duties whose precedence were visible in Pakistan under its Military ruler Zia Ul Haq and Parvez Mussaraf. The object is to control the state power and make fortune of the Military hierarchy as has been done in Pakistan. To reach the goal and achieve the object the DGFI is acting on the following road map. Massive arrest of the political leaders, teachers, students leaders, businessmen and anybody who is suspected to raise voice in favor of constitutional frame work of holding election and hand over power to the people representative. The arrest is affected by the Military under the shadow of so called joint forces mostly in the dead hours of night. Immediately after such arrest the eyes are tightened by black cloth and taken away to unknown destination, reportedly they are put into the torture cell of DGFI. The arrested person is full necked, put into ice-cold chamber almost like a black hole, then put into a heated chamber, and then put into electric shock therapy mainly on genital organ. This process of torture is continued for long couple of days. None of his family members could know his whereabouts for days together. Off late a confessional statement along with the arrested person is produced before the magistrate court through the police to justify the arrest. The arrested person cannot deny the prepared confessional statement in fear of return to the same custody and further torture in the name of remand. This is the way how the cases are fabricated against the arrested person on his own confession and other targeted person as shown as his co accused .The cases are charged under EPR though the fabricated story of the cases have been shown to have committed a long years before the enactment of EPR. Such retrospective effect of charges under EPR is clear violation of constitution and Emergency Power Ordinance (EPO) itself. But those unlawful cases are taken into contingence by the lower court under the threat of property statement and finding out willful discrepancies of the valuation of the properties by ACC officer to institute AC case against the judges. That is, the judges are black mailed by the quasi Military CT govt. to take contingence of false and fabricated cases and give pre-decided judgment as dictated by the DGFI. This is one of the methods beside many other ways of severe violation of Human rights by quasi Military CT govt. So claim of initiative to establish a national human rights commission does not carry any meaning to attract the attention of National and International communities. Mr. M A Matin the Adviser of Home ministry has shown complacent attitude on significant drop in the number of extrajudicial killings by the military dominated Rapid Action Battalion (RAB). He has forgotten that each and every human being is an institution. Centering him hopes, aspiration, happiness of his nearest, dearest wife, children, parents, brothers, sisters relatives, friends are encircled. So on his killing on some bodies’ whim those encircling persons are put into massive shock and haplessness. Such institution as characterized by one human being cannot be destroyed by the law enforcing agencies on its simple which as a plea of controlling crime. Such extrajudicial killing of a single person can be defined as syndicated murder. For such syndicated murder, the planers, initiators and participators must have to be charged for commission of cool blooded murder and brought to justice for trail and punishment. But so far the govt. has not allowed anybody on behalf of the victim to institute any case against those murderers. Few attempts were taken by individual and some human rights organizations to institute cases in the court due to denial by police to institute case in the police station. But those cases have not been taken in to cognigence by the court under the threat of the Govt. Instead of putting those murderers of extrajudicial syndicated killing before justice for trail & punishment the Govt. has rewarded them by giving appointment to hold important portfolio of the C.T Govt. As example appointment of Lt. General (Retd) Hasan Mashood Chowdhury as the chairman of Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) and Mr. Anwarul Iqbal, as an Adviser of Local Govt. Lt. General (Retd) H. M. Chowdhury as a chief of staff of Army initiated and patronized extrajudicial killings in 2003 in the name of Operation Clean Heart. At least 58 persons were killed and few thousands have been disabled due to sever torture in the custody of Army. On the face of massive national & international criticism the so-called operation Clean Heart of Army was stopped and replaced by military dominated Rapid Action Battalion (RAB). Mr. Anwarul Iqbal was appointed Director General of RAB. He followed the path of operation clean heart with changed name of operation crossfire in a more aggressive manner. With his plan, initiative and patronization the RAB. Started extrajudicial killing of arrested persons in its custody in the mid hour of night in some isolated open places. The ground of killings is fabricated with the same story as to that the person in custody was taken to recover the arms and on the spot of killing the associates of the said arrested person to snatch him from custody fired upon the RAB. Mean while the arrested person escaped from custody and in-between cross fire of RAB and those associates he was hit by bullets and killed. So far more than 500 such killings have been committed but not a single incident of killing or injury of the so-called associates during cross fire could be shown. The same story like a broken record to justify the ground of so-called crossfire is not believed by the national and international communities. All those extrajudicial killings were not due to cross fire but obviously those were cool blooded murder. There should be an international Probe body to investigate into all the murders in the name of operation Clean Heart and operation Cross Fire to put the planners, preparators, initiator, patronizer and participators before justice for trial and punishment. Meanwhile H.M chowdhury chairman ACC and Anwarul Iqbal. Adviser to local Govt. should be removed from their existing portfolio to make it visible that the C.T Govt really means the purpose of establishing National Human Rights Commission for protection of human rights of every citizen of Bangladesh. Unless putting the murderers of extrajudicial killings before justice for trial & punishment the complacent comment of Mr. M.A Matin Adviser of Home Ministry due to drop of numbers of killings cannot be acceptable to national and international communities for protection of human rights. Sheikh Hasina, the former Prime Minister and president of A.L had full support to the C.T. Govt. with the hope that as per constitution Article 58 (c) the govt. would hold election within 90 days time frame and hand over power to the people representatives. So on her departure to U.S.A in March, 2007 on private visit at Dhaka Airport she made commitment to ratify legal rules passed by the ordinance after parliament election. But while in U.S.A she found that there was no preparation of the C.T. Govt. to hold election within 90 days constitutional time frame. So she demanded election in time through foreign T.V. interview. The C.T. Govt. immediately after that instituted a false case on 1.4.07 vide Tejgaon police station case no. 30 under section of law 385/386/387 Bangladesh Penal code. To institute the so called case the DGFI reportedly fabricated the charges and induced one Tazul Islam Farooq under threat in DGFI office to submit the written allegation to the police station. In the allegation it was stated that the said Farooq on 12.12.98 delivered taka 30 million in one suitcase carrying by himself to S. Hasina in her P. M. residence. Accommodation of such huge amount of cash taka in one suitcase and its huge load to be carried by one person was an impossible effort. That was a fiction than a fact and could not be accepted as genuine by the people. For more than a year police could not prove the allegation but S. Hasina has not been bailed out in this case. Actually purpose of institution of this false case was a symbol of threat to shut her voice of election demand and return to Bangladesh from USA. But S. Hasina decided to return to face the false allegation against her. At this stage the C.T Govt. imposed restriction upon her return to Bangladesh and Mr. MA Matin with his capacity as an adviser requested S. Hasina over telephone from Bangladesh to USA not to return and his C.T Govt. would not affect her social respect and dignity. But S. Hasina forcibly returned to Bangladesh with the blessing of national and international support, continued her demand for election, stop the notorious activities DGFI in severe violation of human rights. In retaliation C. T. Govt. instituted 2 false cases on 13.6.07 against Sk. Hasina. One case is Gulshan P/S Case No. 34 U/S 385/109 B.P.C instituted by One Azam J. Chowdhury and another case is Tejgaon P/S case No. 32 U/S 385/109 B.P.C. instituted by Noor Ali. In all those 3 cases the hon’ble High court Division of Supreme Court granted bail. Since the bail granting court has right to cancel the bail at any time as and when the person on bail violates the condition of bail so there is seldom any precedence to submit appeal to the higher court against the bail. But the C.T Govt. breaking all the precedence’s immediately after granting bail to S. Hasina submitted appeal petition to the appellate Division of Supreme Court against the bail. The Appellate Division obliquely known as Stay Division in fear of threat by ACC chairman H.M Chowdhury passed their usual order staying the order of High Court Division. It may be mentioned here that the ACC chairman made an unusual visit to the chief Justice on 8 July 2007 along with Inspector General of Police in his Court Chamber and asked the Chief Justice Ruhul Amin to reject the bail of the political leaders especially Sk. Hasina & K. Zia. Other wise he would have to face Anti corruption case on the discrepancies of property statement as the usual practice of ACC to victimize the targeted persons. The High Court Division after thorough hearing assisted by 6 Amicus Curi from prominent lawyers quashed the case lodged by Azam J. Chowdhur as an unlawful charge against S. Hasina. The case lodged by Noor Ali could not yet been proved by police. But unfortunately S. Hasina has been still suffering detention in all those three false cases. The 4th case vide Tejgaon P/S case no. 2 at 2.9.07 has been lodged by ACC itself on the ground that Sk. Hasina as the P.M approved the summary of decision of Inter-ministerial Committee, Energy Ministry Committee and cabinet purchase committee to accepted 2nd lowest tenders of Barge Mounted Electric Plant at Khulna in year 1997. Approval of a summery of decision taken by the concerned experts, Inter Ministerial Committee. Cabinet Purchase committee is a routine work on the part of the head of the Govt. So as the P.M Sk. Hasina has no discretion but to approve the said summery of the decision taken by the appropriate authorities of her Govt. in 1997. So this case under no circumstances stands against Sk. Hasina. But her bail granted by the High Court Division has been stayed by the Appellate Division again on an unprecedented appeal by the Govt. immediately after granting bail to Sk. Hasina. All those so-called false charges have been shown to commit long 7 to 10 years prior to enactment of EPR under E.P. O. But violating the constitution and E.P.O itself the charges have been given retrospective effect under EPR. So that the lower Court cannot grant bail. Institution of false cases and giving unlawful retrospective effect under EPR enacted from 12.1.2007 the C.T Govt. has clearly made it visible before the national and international forum that due to their failure to put Sk. Hasina to exile she has been arrested in false cases and put in prolong detention besides her severe illness. So the opinion passed by Mr. Matin against US State Department Human Rights regarding arrest and detention of Sk. Hasina is not correct. Another former PM Khaleda Zia was forced to leave the country in the name of treatment preferably to Saudi Arabia. But she refused and started to put demand for election in time through teleconference due to her house confinement. She was arrested in sept/2007 without any specific case though her Govt. from 2001 to 2006 faced massive criticism of corruption of his sons Tarek and KoKo through maintaining of so called parallel Govt. in the name Hawa Bhaban. Failure to send K Zia to exile in Saudi Arabia so far three cases have been instituted by ACC which are yet under investigation. She was granted bail by the High Court Division but in usual way the unprecedented appeal was submitted to Appellate Division and as a usual practice the Appellate Division has stayed the order of the High Court Division. So the comment of Mr MA Matin that the USHR report lacks balance is not correct. Recommendation: To uphold human rights in Bangladesh the violators of human rights including syndicated cool blooded extrajudicial killings should be identified by international human rights probe body under UNO Human Rights Commission and they should not be allowed to attend international forum by rejecting their visa to visit humanitarian democratic countries especially in Europe and America. To institutionalize the democracy in Bangladesh it should be practiced and continued may be through trial and error method. The democratic norm is a psychological attitude of tolerance of other opinion to formulate the consensus to run the state with cohesion of all political parties. In Europe, America, India and other democratic nation they had to go a long way for years together to practice of tolerance of others opinion to establish democratic norms among the politicians and citizen as a whole. No revolutionary process but evolution is prerequisite to establish democracy towards refinement of social cohesion. So democratic practice may be under lot of bitter situation, must have to be continued with out any obstacle by any undemocratic forces. But unfortunately for Bangladesh, though its people are highly democratic loving, the democracy is facing frequent new start instead of continuation for the interception by Army like Pakistan. On Aug 15 1975 the democratic leader Banga Bandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was killed by a section of Army. The democratic institutions were destroyed by the two military rulers Lt. General Ziaur Rahman and Lt. HM Ershad from 1975 up to 1990 who initiated corruptions among the politicians with the end of forming military backed political party by corrupt politicians, military generals, and businessman for the purpose to ratify the Martial Law regulation by a puppet rubber stamp parliament. In this way the politics was really made difficult for politicians as indoctrinated by the military ruler Lt. General Zia-Ur Rahman. Since 1991 up to 2006 for fifteen years the Govt was run by parliamentary form of democracy. During this fifteen years besides lot of complain of corruption due to the legacy of political corruption of two generals the country could achieve massive progress in all sectors like investment, employment, infrastructural development etc. Especially during regime of Awami league under the leadership of Sk. Hasina from 1996 to 2001 the country passed a golden period of development including transforming Bangladesh from food deficit to excess food producing country and price stabilization of daily essential commodities. On 11.1.2007 the Army has again intercepted the continuation of democracy on ground of misunderstanding between two major political parties BNP and AL. Now the military under the shadow of C.T. Govt. is playing very active role to destroy the democratic institution by instituting false and fabricated cases against almost all senior political leaders especially Sk. Hasina and Khaleda Zia with a view to convict them in their pre-decided judgment by putting the Judges under threat of anti corruption cases by willful creating discrepancies on their property statement under the guidance of ACC Chairman Lt. General (retd.) HM Chowdhury. Due to so called conviction the political leaders will be put into disqualification to contest the election and their vacuum will be filled up by military selected puppet candidates and a rubber stamp parliament will be formed so that under the shadow of the rubber stamp parliament the military can dominate state power and make their financial fortune just like a blue print of Pakistan military junta. Bangladesh military is increasing their troops and arsenal strength and creating new cantonments all over the country by squeezing the crop field of densely populated country of about one fifty million within only fifty six thousand square mile area including river, forest, hill etc. They know it clear that they will have not to fight against any invasion of foreign military because Bangladesh is encircled by India with its mighty military strength. So the increasing numbers of military in Bangladesh do not have the professional object to fight the enemy against territorial invasion and protect soviorginty. So their idle brain has become almost the devils workshop to chalk out plans and ways to destroy political institutions and dominate state power. To save the democratic institutions and upholding continuation of democratic practice the military intervention into democratic process must be stopped. To achieve the goal the present idle military must be reduced to at best the strength, which is required for disaster management and peacekeeping missions under UNO. Let the fat budget allocated for huge unused military force in Bangladesh is spent for poverty alleviation, health care, education sector, protection & improvement of ecological balance and many other infrastructural development of the poor nation.