Monday, September 1, 2008

FACT FINDING REPORT: Threats Against Human rights defender Mr. Shahanur Islam


Date: September 01, 2008
Fact Finding Case: BIHR-HRD-02-08
Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights has been received a fact finding report conducted by the fact-finding team of BIHR from August 31 to September 01, 2008 regarding to intimidation of Mr. Shahanur Islam Saikot, Programme Manager of Legal and Human Rights Affairs at the Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) and Bangladesh Rehabilitation Centre for Trauma Victims (BRCT) by cell phone. According to the information received, there was no action taken by the police authorities

BIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION:
Name of the Victim :Mr. Shahanur Islam Saikot, Programme Manager of Legal and Human Rights Affairs at the Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) and Bangladesh Rehabilitation Centre for Trauma Victims (BRCT).
During the time of his duties, he moved many cases against the perpetrators as a lawyer and some of them have been punished. He also conducted many investigations and fact-finding missions on human rights violations as well as issued local and international urgent appeals requesting attention to concerned authorities.
Name of the Perpetrators : Higher Authority of law Enforcing Agencies (Unknown)

Date of Incident : August 29, 2008 around at 10.17 pm

General Diary Number : Paltan Police Station GD Number 2014

Date of General Diary : August 31, 2008

FACT DETAILS:
On 29 August 2008 around at 10.17 pm, while Mr. Shahanur Islam Saikot was working his desk at Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) office, he received a phone call from an unknown person by his cell phone number 01732330005 . The unknown person asked him to disclose his identity and location of his staying that time. Due to security reason Mr. Islam Saikot denied to disclose his identity and location and rather asked him to disclose his identity. Mr. Islam also told him that if the caller disclosed his identity ago, he would disclose his identity. The person also denied disclosing his identity again asked to disclose his identity with angry. During the time of their conversation the caller threatened him by stating that he has a highest identity (highest authority of law enforcing agencies) and he would disclose Mr. Islam’s identity as well as punished him as soon as possible. At once the caller said that he knows Mr. Islam well but he does not know his residential address and if he knew his residential address, he would come to his house as well as gave him exemplary punishment. Later, the caller told that Mr. Islam is going to face more suffering within a short time due to his denial of disclosing identity and location. The caller also used filthy language as well as does misbehavior with Mr. Islam. Following the incident Mr. Islam Saikot filed General Diary at the Paltan Police Station in DMP that No-2014 on August 31, 2008.

Mr. Islam Saikot is assuming and apprehending that the caller may be a higher officer of law enforcing agency (Specially Higher officer of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and he could arrest Mr. Islam implicating with false and concocted cases at any time as well as torture him brutally. He is also frightening apprehending that it is not impossible to kill him by cross fire.

BACK GROUND:
Mr. Shahanur Islam Saikot received threats in previously on 06 February 2008, while he was working at his desk at the Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights office. An unidentified person called him and When Mr. Islam demanded to disclose his identity, he identified him as a higher official of a medicine company and ordered him to come at Nayatola, Dhaka to meet with him. But when Mr. Islam refused to do that the caller demeaned to know his present location. But due to his personal security when Mr. Islam refused to disclosed his location, the caller threatened to kill him using foul language. He said that where Mr. Islam will live; he will find out him and finished him from the world asap. When Mr. Islam asked him about this type of behavior he replied that Mr. Islam had caught some adultery medicine with him and handed over him to the concerned police station. Now he released from the jail and wanted to punish Mr. Islam. He also said that he would file case against Mr. Islam to sentence him jail and if he can not do that he will finished him from the world by kill him. Following the incident Mr. Islam filed General Diary at the Paltan Police Station in DMP that No-493.You are requested to visit the following links to know more about case previous fact finding report: http://bihr-bihr.blogspot.com/2009/07/fact-finding-reporthuman-rights.html

BIHR FINDINGS:
This is not any isolated instance of such threats on human rights defenders in Bangladesh. It is a very common phenomenon for the professionals like human rights defenders of Bangladesh facing death threats from the law-enforcing agencies and security forces. It is well-known that Bangladesh has cultivated one of the best cultures of impunity to alleged perpetrators of human rights abuses despite the nation’s presence in the UN Human Rights Council since May 2006. Instead of improving the country’s human rights records the government of Bangladesh has paved the ways to degrade the rights of the citizens through various means of violations.
RECOMENDATION:

  • take all necessary measures to guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Shahanur Islam;
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  • order a prompt, effective, thorough, independent and impartial investigation into the above-mentioned death threats, the result of which must be made public, in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before a competent, independent and impartial tribunal and apply to them the penal sanctions provided by the law;
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  • put an end to all acts of harassment against Mr. Shahanur Islam as well as against all human rights defenders in Bangladesh;
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  • comply with the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998, in particular Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually or collectively, to promote the protection and fulfilment of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”, as well as Article 12.2, which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually or in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”;
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  • guarantee the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and other international human rights instruments ratified by Bangladesh.

Thank You
Adv. Nazmul H. S. Chowdhury
Executive Director
Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR)
27, Bijoy Nagar, B-17, Dhaka-1000, Bangladesh