Monday, March 23, 2009

URGENT APPEAL - THE OBSERVATORY:for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders

THE OBSERVATORY: for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders URGENT APPEAL - THE OBSERVATORY BGD 001 / 0309 / OBS 051 Death threats Bangladesh March 23, 2009 The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the World Organization against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Bangladesh. Description of the situation: The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources, including ODHIKAR, of threats received by Mr. Shahanur Islam Saikot, Secretary General and Executive Director of the Bangladesh Centre for Human Rights and Development (BCHRD), Programme Manager of Legal and Human Rights Affairs at the Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) and Bangladesh Rehabilitation Centre for Trauma Victims (BRCT), as well as a member of the Bangladesh Bar Council and Bar Association in Dhaka District. According to the information received, on March 18, 2009, at 11.15 am, Mr. Shahanur Islam Saikot received a phone call while he was working at BIHR. The call came from a person who identified himself as “Billu” and who started to verbally abuse him. When Mr. Islam Saikot asked about the reason for such a call and rude language, “Billu” threatened to murder him. On March 19, 2009, Mr. Saikot received a call from the same phone number and the caller, who once again identified himself as “Billu”, threatened him again and told him to “get mentally prepared for his death”. On the same day, Mr. Islam filed a complaint at the Peltan police station to report on the threats he had received. On February 28, 2009, at 11.30 am, Mr. Shahanur Islam Saikot had already received a phone call at BIHR. The call came from a person who identified himself as “Pintu” and who started to verbally abuse him. “Pintu” also threatened to murder Mr. Islam Saikot with a gunshot in the head. At 11.32 am, Mr. Islam Saikot received a second phone call from the same caller. On this occasion, “Pintu” once more threatened to kill him and told him to get mentally prepared for his death. Subsequently on February 28, 2009, in light of the aforementioned incidents, Mr. Islam Saikot filed a complaint at the Peltan police station, reporting on the threats he had received and calling for the immediate arrest of the alleged perpetrator. After filing this complaint, the officer in charge sent policemen at his office to ensure his protection. According to the information received, the police could not trace out the caller. On March 1, 2009, at 9.52 am, “Pintu” called again and threatened to murder Mr. Islam Saikot, saying he would come immediately to kill him. Mr. Islam Saikot had already received death threats in 2008. For instance, on August 29, 2008, an unidentified person called him while he was working at BIHR, and asked for his identity and location. Since Mr. Islam Saikot did not reveal such information, the caller replied stating that he was a “higher authority of law enforcing agencies” and that he would come to his home and subject him to punishment. The caller ended the conversation stating that Mr. Islam Saikot would be facing more suffering soon. After the threats received by Mr. Islam Saikot in 2008 and 2009 and the complaints he lodged, the authorities launched several investigations to enquire about the nature of such incidents. However, as of issuing this urgent appeal, no progress had been made and the perpetrators had not been identified and brought to justice. The Observatory expresses its deepest concern about these death threats against Mr. Islam Saikot, which seem to merely aim at sanctioning his human rights activities. In particular, as a lawyer, Mr. Islam Saikot filed cases on custodial torture against some officers on behalf of BIHR and the police officers involved had allegedly tried to bribe him. Mr. Islam Saikot believes they could have involved a third party to threaten him in order to refrain from those cases. The Observatory fears that without a proper investigation into the above-mentioned threats - so that those responsible be brought to justice - a climate of impunity might encourage further physical or verbal attacks against Mr. Islam Saikot and, more generally, against human rights defenders. Actions requested: Please write to the Bangladeshi authorities urging them to: i. take all necessary measures to guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Shahanur Islam Saikot; ii. 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; iii. put an end to all acts of harassment against Mr. Shahanur Islam Saikot as well as against all human rights defenders in Bangladesh; iv. 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”; v. 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. Addresses: · Mr. Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister, Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh, Office of the Prime Minister, Tejgaon, Dhaka, Bangladesh, Fax: +880 2 811 3244 / 3243 / 1015 / 1490, E-mail: pm@pmo.gov.bd or psecy@pmo.gov.bd
· Mr. Mohammad Ruhul Amin, Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Bangladesh, Supreme Court Building, Ramna, Dhaka-1000, Bangladesh, Fax: +880 2 956 5058
· Barrister Shafik Ahmed, Minister, Ministry of Law, Justice & Parliamentary Affairs, Bangladesh Secretariat, Dhaka-100, Bangladesh, Fax: +880 2 7168557 (O)
· Ms. Shahara Khatun, Minister, Ministry of Home Affairs, Bangladesh Secretariat, Dhaka-1000Bangladesh, Fax: +88-02-7160405, 88-02-7164788 (O)
· Mr. Mahbube Alam, Attorney General of Bangladesh, Office of the Attorney General, Supreme Court Building, Ramna, Dhaka-1000, Bangladesh, Fax: +880 2 956 1568
· General Moeen U Ahmed, Chief of Army Staff, Bangladesh Army, Army Headquarters,Dhaka Cantonment, Dhaka, Bangladesh, Fax: +880 2 875 4455, E-mail: itdte@army.mil.bd
· Mr. Nur Mohammad, Inspector General of Police (IGP), Bangladesh Police, Police Headquarters', Fulbaria, Dhaka-1000, Bangladesh Fax: +880 2 956 3362 / 956 3363, E-mail: ig@police.gov.bd
· Mr. Hassan Mahmud Khandokar, Director General (DG), Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), RAB Headquarter, Uttara, Dhaka, Bangladesh, Fax: +880 2 896 2884 (O), E-mail: dg_rab@rab.gov.bd
· Ambassador M. Debapriya Bhattacharya, Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh to the United Nations in Geneva, 65 rue de Lausanne, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 738 46 16, E-mail: mission.bangladesh@ties.itu.int
· Embassy of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh in Brussels, 29-31 rue J. Jordaens, 1000 Brussels, Belgium, Fax: +32 2 646 59 98; Email: bdootbrussels@freegates.be Please also write to the diplomatic representations of Bangladesh in your respective countries. *** Geneva - Paris, March 23, 2009 Kindly inform the Observatory of any action undertaken quoting the code number of this appeal in your reply. The Observatory, a FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of human rights defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need. The Observatory was the winner of the 1998 Human Rights Prize of the French Republic. To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line: Tel and fax FIDH : +33 (0) 1 43 55 20 11 / 33 (0) 1 43 55 18 80 Tel and fax OMCT : + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 (0) 22 809 49 29 Email : Appeals@fidh-omct.org FIDH International Federation for Human Rights 17, Passage de la Main d’Or 75 011 Paris, France
OMCT World Organisation Against Torture Case postale 21 - 8 rue du Vieux-Billard 1211 Genève 8, Switzerland

Sunday, March 22, 2009

URGENT APPEAL: Immediately Ensure the Security of Human Rights Defender; Investigate Cases of Intimidations and Bring the Culprits before the justice.

BANGLADESH INSTITUTE OF HUMAN RIGHTS: URGENT APPEAL PROGRAMME URGENT APPEAL CASE: BIHR-IUA-02-03-2009 DATE: March 22, 2009 ====================================== BANGLADESH: Immediately Ensure the Security of Human Rights Defender; Investigate Cases of Intimidations and Bring the Culprits before the justice. ======================================= Dear Friends, Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights has been received a fact-finding report conducted by the high level fact-finding team of BIHR regarding to a prominent human rights defender and lawyer in Bangladesh once again received his life threats. He filed General Diary (G.D.) to the concerned police station but no appropriate action has been taken yet even no investigation has been conducted. BIHR urges your immediate intervention to immediately ensure his security as well as investigate this alleged incident credibly and bring the alleged culprits before the justice in accordance with the law. BIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: Name of the Victim : Adv. Shahanur Islam Saikot (28), Secretary General and Executive Director of Bangladesh Centre for human Rights and Development (BCHRD), Programme Manager of Legal and Human Rights Affairs at Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) and Bangladesh Rehabilitation Centre for Trauma Victims (BRCT), Member of Bangladesh Bar Council and District Bar Association in Dhaka. During the time of his duties, he 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. He filed many cases against the perpetrators as a lawyer and some of them have been punished. Date & Time of the Incident :i) March 18, 2009, around at 11.15 a.m. ii) ) March 19, 2009, around at 11.53 a.m FACT DETAILS: On March 18, 2009 around at 11.15 a.m. when Mr. Shahanur Islam Saikot was working at Bangladesh Institution Human Rights at 27, Bijoy Nagar, Dhaka-1000, he received a call from a person; the cell phone number was displayed as 01937690054. Mr. Islam asked the caller to identify himself. The caller did so only as Billu and starting to verbally abuse him. In response Mr. Islam inquired as to the reason of the call and the purpose of the vulgar language. Billu replied by threatening to kill Mr. Islam On March 19, 2009 Mr. Shahanur again received call from the same phone Number. Once again the caller identified himself as Billu and begun to verbally abuse him and threatened him to kill immediately. He also warned him to take mental preparation about his death. The phone call deeply disturbed and frightened Mr. Islam who in response immediately filed a General Diary at the Peltan Police Station of DMP (Paltan Police Station G. D. No-1409; Dated: 19.03.2009). In it he made a statement about the two threats he received over the phone. BACKGROUND:
Mr. Islam has had his life threatened on previous occasions. On February 28th, 2009 at 11.28 a.m., while Mr. Shahanur Islam Saikot was working at his desk at the Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights, (BIHR) he received a phone call. Mr. Islam asked the caller to identify himself. The caller did so only as Pintu and starting to verbally abuse him. In response Mr. Islam inquired as to the reason of the call and the purpose of the vulgar language. Pintu replied by threatening to murder Mr. Islam by way of a gun shot to the head. Mr. Islam received a second phone call at 11.32 a.m. Once again the caller identified himself at Pintu and begun to verbally abuse him. This time, the caller stated that not only does he intend to murder him, but that he intends to do so that same day. The phone conversation ended with Pintu advising Mr. Islam to mentally prepare for his impending death.
The phone call deeply disturbed and frightened Mr. Islam who in response immediately filed a General Diary at the Peltan Police Station of DMP (No-2281). In it he made a statement about the two threats he received over the phone.
On March 01st, 2009 at 9.52 a.m., Pintu called Mr. Islam again and restated his threat to murder, this time claiming he would do so immediately.
On August 29th, 2008 at 10.17 p.m. he was working at his desk at the Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights office, when an unidentified person called him. The caller demanded to know Mr. Islam’s identity and location. For personal security reasons Mr. Islam declined answering the caller’s inquiries and instead demanded the same information from the caller. This angered the caller who replied by stating that he could not disclose his identity at the moment. He did, however, state that he is a higher authority of law enforcing agencies. The caller further said that he would disclose his identity and punish Mr. Islam at the earliest possible time. Following these statements, the caller continued on by stating that he knows who Mr. Islam is but does not know his residential address. He further threatened Mr. Islam by claiming that he would come to his home and subject him to punishment. The caller ended the conversation by stating that Mr. Islam would be facing more suffering soon. Following the incident Mr. Islam filed General Diary at the Paltan Police Station in DMP (No-2014). ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: This is not any isolated instance of such threats on journalists or human rights defenders in Bangladesh. It is a very common phenomenon for the professionals like journalists and 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. SUGESTED ACTION: Please write letters to the relevant authorities to take immediate measures to ensure personal security of the victims as well as other human rights activists. Particularly, in order to deter further harassment to Adv. Shahanur, the police should probe the owner(s) of the cell phone nos. mentioned above and conduct effective investigation over the case. The perpetrator(s) must be punished in accordance to law. In addition, the police should offer protection to the victim to ensure his personal security before the case is resolved. SAMPLE LETTER Dear -------------------, Sub: Urge to Immediately Ensure the Security of Human Rights Defender; Investigate Cases of Intimidations and Bring the Culprits before the justice. I am informed by an organization in Bangladesh that Adv. Shahanur Islam Saikot once again received death threats on March 18 and 19, 2009. I am writing to express our concern over this case and urge the police to conduct full and effective investigation. The victim of intimidation, Adv. Shahanur Islam, is the Program Manager of Legal and Human Rights Affairs at Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR). He is also affiliated with Bangladesh Centre for Human Rights and Development, Bangladesh Rehabilitation Centre for Trauma Victims, and Member of Bangladesh Bar Council and Dhaka Bar Association. When he was working at the BIHR office at 11.15 a.m. on March 18, 2009, he received a call from a person, the cell phone number was displayed as 01937690054. Mr. Islam asked the caller to identify himself. The caller did so only as Billu and starting to verbally abuse him. In response Mr. Islam inquired as to the reason of the call and the purpose of the vulgar language. Billu replied by threatening to kill Mr. Islam. On March 19, 2009 Mr. Shahanur again received call from the same phone Number. Once again the caller identified himself as Billu and begun to verbally abuse him and threatened him to kill immediately. He also warned him to take mental preparation about his death. Likewise, several death threats were received by Adv. Shahanur on 28 February 2008, 01 march 2009 and 29 August 2008. Adv. Shahanur is a human rights defender and has been active in documenting and investigating cases of human rights violations. He also widely disseminates those cases through urgent appeals nationally and internationally. I worry that the death threats that the victim received may relate to his endeavor in exposing the human rights violations in Bangladesh. I sincerely urge the police to take immediate measures to ensure the personal security of the victims as well as other human rights activists. Particularly, in order to deter further harassment to Adv. Shahanur, the police should probe the owner(s) of the cell phone nos. mentioned above and conduct effective investigation over the case. The perpetrator(s) must be punished in accordance to law. In addition, the police should offer protection to the victim to ensure his personal security before the case is resolved. Thank you for your attention and we look forward to your favorable response to this issue. Yours faithfully, ----------------------- PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO: 1. Sheikh Hasina Prime Minister Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh Office of the Prime Minister Tejgaon, Dhaka BANGLADESH Fax: +880 2 811 3244 / 3243 / 1015 / 1490 Tel: +880 2 882 816 079 / 988 8677 E-mail: pm@pmo.gov.bd or psecy@pmo.gov.bd 2. Mr. Mohammad Ruhul Amin Chief Justice Supreme Court of Bangladesh Supreme Court Building Ramna, Dhaka-1000 BANGLADESH
Fax: +880 2 956 5058 Tel: +880 2 956 2792 3. Mr. Shafik Ahmed Minister
Ministry of Law, Justice & Parliamentary Affairs Bangladesh Secretariat Dhaka-1000BANGLADESH
Fax: +880 2 7168557 (O) Tel: +880 2 7160627 (O) 4. Ms. Shahara Khatun Minister Ministry of Home Affairs Bangladesh Secretariat Dhaka-1000BANGLADESH
Fax: +88-02-7160405, 88-02-7164788 (O) Tel: +88-02-7169069 (O) 5. Mr. Mahbube Alam Attorney General of Bangladesh Office of the Attorney General Supreme Court Building Ramna, Dhaka-1000 BANGLADESHFax: +880 2 956 1568 Tel: +880 2 956 2868 6. General Moeen U Ahmed Chief of Army Staff Bangladesh Army Army Headquarters Dhaka Cantonment DhakaBANGLADESHFax: +880 2 875 4455 Tel: +880 2 987 0011 E-mail: itdte@army.mil.bd 7. Mr. Nur Mohammad Inspector General of Police (IGP) Bangladesh Police Police Headquarters' Fulbaria, Dhaka-1000 BANGLADESH
Fax: +880 2 956 3362 / 956 3363 Tel: +880 2 956 2054 / 717 6451 / 717 6677 E-mail: ig@police.gov.bd 8. Mr. Hassan Mahmud Khandokar Director General (DG) Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) RAB Headquarter Uttara, Dhaka BANGLADESH
Fax: +880 2 896 2884 (O) Tel: +880 2 896 1105 (O) E-mail: dg_rab@rab.gov.bd Thank You Urgent Appeal Programme Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) Saj Bhaban, 27, Bijoy Nagar, Dhaka-1000, Bangladesh Email: saikotbihr@gmail.com, bihr@bangla.net www.bangladeshinstituteofhumanrights.blogspot.com

Thursday, March 19, 2009

FACT FINDING REPORT: A Prominent Human Rights Defender in Bangladesh Once Again Received His Life Threat

Date: March 19, 2009

Fact Finding Case: BIHR-HRD-02-09

Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) has received a fact finding report conducted by a fact-finding team of BIHR from March 18 to 19, 2009 regarding serious threats to Mr. Shahanur Islam Saikot 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) as well as Member of Bangladesh Bar Council and Dhaka Bar Association by cell phone. According to the information received, there was no action taken by the police authorities.

BIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION:

Name of the Victim : Adv. Shahanur Islam Saikot (28), Secretary General and Executive Director of Bangladesh Centre for human Rights and Development (BCHRD), Programme Manager of Legal and Human Rights Affairs at Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) and Bangladesh Rehabilitation Centre for Trauma Victims (BRCT), Member of Bangladesh Bar Council and District Bar Association in Dhaka.

During the time of his duties, he 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. He filed many cases against the perpetrators as a lawyer and some of them have been punished.

Date & Time of the Incident :i) March 18, 2009, around at 11.15 a.m. ii) ) March 19, 2009, around at 11.53 a.m

Name of the Perpetrators : Billu

General Diary Number : Paltan Police Station G. D. No-1409

Date of General Diary : March 19, 2009

FACT DETAILS:

On March 18, 2009 around at 11.15 am, when Mr. Shahanur Islam Saikot was working at Bangladesh Institution Human Rights at 27, Bijoy Nagar, Dhaka-1000, he received a call from a person; the cell phone number was displayed as 01937690054. Mr. Islam asked the caller to identify himself. The caller did so only as Billu and starting to verbally abuse him. In response Mr. Islam inquired as to the reason of the call and the purpose of the vulgar language. Billu replied by threatening to kill Mr. Islam

On March 19, 2009 Mr. Shahanur again received call from the same phone Number. Once again the caller identified himself as Billu and begun to verbally abuse him and threatened him to kill immediately. He also warned him to take mental preparation about his death.

The phone call deeply disturbed and frightened Mr. Islam who in response immediately filed a General Diary at the Peltan Police Station of DMP (Paltan Police Station G. D. No-1409; Dated: 19.03.2009). In it he made a statement about the two threats he received over the phone.

BACKGROUND: Mr. Islam has had his life threatened on previous occasions. On February 28th, 2009 at 11.28 a.m., while Mr. Shahanur Islam Saikot was working at his desk at the Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights, (BIHR) he received a phone call. Mr. Islam asked the caller to identify himself. The caller did so only as Pintu and starting to verbally abuse him. In response Mr. Islam inquired as to the reason of the call and the purpose of the vulgar language. Pintu replied by threatening to murder Mr. Islam by way of a gun shot to the head. Mr. Islam received a second phone call at 11.32 a.m. Once again the caller identified himself at Pintu and begun to verbally abuse him. This time, the caller stated that not only does he intend to murder him, but that he intends to do so that same day. The phone conversation ended with Pintu advising Mr. Islam to mentally prepare for his impending death.

The phone call deeply disturbed and frightened Mr. Islam who in response immediately filed a General Diary at the Paltan Police Station of DMP (No-2281). In it he made a statement about the two threats he received over the phone.

On March 01st, 2009 at 9.52 a.m., Pintu called Mr. Islam again and restated his threat to murder, this time claiming he would do so immediately.

You are requested to visit the following links to know more about case previous fact finding report: http://bihr-bihr.blogspot.com/2009/03/fact-finding-reporta-prominent-human_7556.html

On August 29th, 2008 at 10.17 p.m. he was working at his desk at the Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights office, when an unidentified person called him. The caller demanded to know Mr. Islam’s identity and location. For personal security reasons Mr. Islam declined answering the caller’s inquiries and instead demanded the same information from the caller. This angered the caller who replied by stating that he could not disclose his identity at the moment. He did, however, state that he is a higher authority of law enforcing agencies. The caller further said that he would disclose his identity and punish Mr. Islam at the earliest possible time. Following these statements, the caller continued on by stating that he knows who Mr. Islam is but does not know his residential address. He further threatened Mr. Islam by claiming that he would come to his home and subject him to punishment. The caller ended the conversation by stating that Mr. Islam would be facing more suffering soon. Following the incident Mr. Islam filed General Diary at the Paltan Police Station in DMP (No-2014).

You are requested to visit the following links to know more about case previous fact finding report: http://bihr-bihr.blogspot.com/2008/09/v-behaviorurldefaultvml-o.html

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 journalists or human rights defenders in Bangladesh. It is a very common phenomenon for the professionals like journalists and 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;

  • 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;

  • put an end to all acts of harassment against Mr. Shahanur Islam as well as against all human rights defenders in Bangladesh;

  • 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”;

  • 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

Email: bihr@bangla.net,www.bihr-bihr.blogspot.com

Saturday, March 7, 2009

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY:JOINT STATEMENT

Men and Women Must Unite to End Violence Against Women!
Global Human Rights Defence, (GHRD) The Hague-Dhaka, Jabala Action, Calcutta, and Bangladesh Institute for Human Rights (BIHR), and Bangladesh Rehabilitation Centre for Trauma Victims, four NGOs involved in the promotion of women’s rights in India and Bangladesh, have joined forces to raise awareness about the plight of women in South Asia on International Women’s Day 2009. Activities include a radio programme on Bhutanese refugee women’s issues in Nepal, joint press conferences in Dhaka, a ‘human chain’ for mass awareness, and student debates in Dhaka.

JOINT STATEMENT:Men and Women Must Unite to End Violence Against Women!

JOINT STATEMENT by
Global Human Rights Defence, (GHRD) Jabala Action (Calcutta) Bangladesh Institute for Human Rights (BIHR), and Bangladesh Rehabilitation Centre for Trauma Victims (BRCT)
8 March, 2009
The Hague, Calcutta, Dhaka, 8 March 2009
Men and Women Must Unite to End Violence Against Women!
Global Human Rights Defence, (GHRD) The Hague-Dhaka, Jabala Action, Calcutta, a new partner organisation of GHRD, and Bangladesh Institute for Human Rights (BIHR), Bangladesh Rehabilitation Centre for Trauma Victims (BRCT) four NGOs involved in the promotion of women’s rights in India and Bangladesh, have joined forces to raise awareness about the plight of women in South Asia on International Women’s Day 2009.
As grass root organisations, committed to fact-finding and observation in the region, we note with concern how women and girls in South Asia are excluded from the educational and occupational sphere, sexually exploited, mutilated, sold into slavery and forced into marriages, simply because they are female.
The number of women who experience violence - including rape, beatings, torture, acid attacks and murder - is alarmingly high in our countries of operation: India, Bangladesh, and Nepal.
Social inclusion and respecting minorities and migrants are crucial elements to breaking this cycle of discrimination and stigmatization of women in South Asia.
Women in South Asia are underrepresented in the public and political sphere, while national as well as international legislation and programmes aimed at increasing their rights continually fail to be implemented.
State intervention towards preventing violence against women has been inadequate to date. Barriers to accessing the judicial system itself, corruption within the police forces and mismanagement of vital evidence are major obstacles.
We observe that the violence is particularly prevalent against women in rural and impoverished areas, both in domestic situations and situations outside the home.
Female migrants constitute the largest number of unskilled labourers. Rampant gender inequalities, low social status and lack of understanding of their sexuality and reproductive health, together with lack of access to information and services make migrant women specially vulnerable to trafficking and HIV/AIDS.The stigmatization of women, the taboo surrounding female sexuality and the concept of ‘honour’ prevent many women from seeking justice in cases of gender-based and sexual violence. At the same time, it reinforces gender stereotypes and hinders social inclusion.
Considering that the root causes are numerous and multidimensional, the issue must be addressed in the same way. Real change is only possible when the notions and practices of male dominance are challenged, deconstructed and ultimately transformed.
We must break through gender stereotypes and address the general discrimination of minorities, women and migrants.
This is a struggle that must unite women and men from both religious minorities and majorities alike.
GHRD, Jabala Action, BIHR and BRCT have therefore joined forces this day, under the slogan: Men and Women United to End Violence Against Women!
Activities include a radio programme on Bhutanese refugee women’s issues in Nepal, joint press conferences in Dhaka, a ‘human chain’ for mass awareness, and student debates in Dhaka, in collaboration with the BIHR and BRCT.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

URGENT APPEAL:Ensure the protection of human rights defender: Shahanur Islam Saikot in Bangladesh

The Hague, March 4 2009
URGENT APPEAL
BANGLADESH: Ensure the protection of human rights defender: Shahanur Islam Saikot.[UA-BA-2009-04.03]
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ISSUES: Threats to human rights defenders; fabrication of charges; impunity
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Dear Friends,
Global Human Rights Defence (GHRD) has received a report conducted by a fact-findingteam of Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) regarding serious threats to Shahanur Islam, a human rights defender and lawyer. According to the informationreceived, there was no action taken by the police authorities.
Considering this is not an isolated event, but rather the safety of human rightsdefenders is of major concern in Bangladesh , GHRD strongly urges the newly electedgovernment to use its powers to ensure the protection of human rights defenders andjournalists, to respect the rule of law, end impunity and the arbitrary arrests,torture and killings that constituted the repressive policy of the military caretakergovernment under two years of emergency rule.
CASE DETAILS:
BIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION:
Name of the Victim : Adv. Shahanur Islam Saikot (28), Secretary General and ExecutiveDirector of Bangladesh Centre for Human Rights and Development (BCHRD), ProgrammeManager of Legal and Human Rights Affairs at Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights(BIHR) and Bangladesh Rehabilitation Centre for Trauma Victims (BRCT), Member ofBangladesh Bar Council and Bar Association in Dhaka District.
During the time of his duties, he conducted many investigations and fact-findingmissions on human rights violations as well as issued local and international urgentappeals requesting attention to concerned authorities. He filed many cases against the perpetrators as a lawyer and some of them have been punished.
Date & Time of the Incident : February 28, 2009, around at 11.28 am.
General Diary against Perpetrators : Paltan Thana G.D. No-2281, Date: 28.02.09
BACKGROUND:
On February 28th, 2009 at 11.28 a.m., while Mr. Shahanur Islam Saikot was working athis desk at the Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights, (BIHR) he received a phone call.Mr. Islam asked the caller to identify himself. The caller did so only as ‘Pintu’ andstarting to verbally abuse him. In response Mr. Islam inquired as to the reason of thecall and the purpose of the vulgar language. Pintu replied by threatening to murderMr. Islam by way of a gun shot to the head. Mr. Islam received a second phone call at11.32 a.m. Once again the caller identified himself at Pintu and begun to verballyabuse him. This time, the caller stated that not only does he intend to murder him,but that he intends to do so that same day. The phone conversation ended with Pintuadvising Mr. Islam to mentally prepare for his impending death.
The phone call deeply disturbed and frightened Mr. Islam who in response immediatelyfiled a General Diary at the Peltan Police Station of DMP (No-2281). In it he made astatement about the two threats he received over the phone.
On March 01st, 2009 at 9.52 a.m., Pintu called Mr. Islam again and restated his threatto murder, this time claiming he would do so immediately.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
Mr. Islam has had his life threatened on previous occasions. On August 29th, 2008 at10.17 p.m. he was working at his desk at the Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights office, when an unidentified person called him. The caller demanded to know Mr.Islam’s identity and location. For personal security reasons Mr. Islam declined answering the caller’s inquiries and instead demanded the same information from the caller. This angered the caller who replied by stating that he could not disclose hisidentity at the moment. He did, however, state that he is a “higher authority of lawenforcing agencies”. The caller further said that he would disclose his identity and punish Mr. Islam at the earliest possible time. Following these statements, the callercontinued on by stating that he knows who Mr. Islam is but does not know his residential address. He further threatened Mr. Islam by claiming that he would come to his home and subject him to punishment. The caller ended the conversation by statingthat Mr. Islam would be facing more suffering soon. Following the incident Mr. Islamfiled General Diary at the Paltan Police Station in DMP (No-2014).
SUGGESTED ACTION:
GHRD is extremely concerned about the safety and integrity of Mr Islam, a renownedhuman rights defender.Please write letters to the relevant authorities to ensure the security of Mr. Islamas well as request the investigatation.
SAMPLE LETTER
BANGLADESH: Ensure the protection of human rights defender: Shahanur Islam Saikot.
Dear -------------------,
I am informed that Adv. Shahanur Islam Saikot received death threats on 28 February2009 and 1 March 2009. I am writing to express my concern over this case and urge thepolice to conduct a full and effective investigation.
The victim of intimidation, Adv. Islam, is the Program Manager of Legal and HumanRights Affairs at Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR). He is also affiliatedwith Bangladesh Centre for Human Rights and Development, Bangladesh RehabilitationCentre for Trauma Victims, and Member of Bangladesh Bar Council and Dhaka BarAssociation. When he was working at the BIHR office at 11:28 a.m. on 28 February 2009,he received a call from a person named himself as Pintu. The caller threatened to kill Mr Islam and than hung up the phone. Five minutes after the first intimidatingcall, the caller phoned again from the same number. Again he presented himselfas ‘Pintu’ and threatened that he would go to Adv. Islam’s office and shoot him. Healso warned him to prepare mentally for his death. On 1 March, Adv. Islam againreceived a call and death threats. Likewise, several death threats were received byAdv. Islam on 29 August 2008.
Adv. Islam is a human rights defender and has been active in documenting andinvestigating cases of human rights violations. He also widely disseminates thosecases through urgent appeals nationally and internationally.
I worry that the death threats he received may relate to his endeavor in exposing thehuman rights violations in Bangladesh.I sincerely urge the police to take immediatemeasures to ensure the personal security of Shahanur as well as for other human rightsactivists.
Particularly, in order to deter further harassment to Adv. Islam, the police shouldprobe the owner(s) of the cell phone no’s and conduct effective investigation overthe case. The perpetrator(s) must be punished in accordance to law. In addition, thepolice should offer protection to the victim to ensure his personal security beforethe case is resolved.
For further details in this case please contact GHRD or BIHR directly at;urgentappeals@ghrd.org or bihr@bangla.net
Thank you for your attention and we look forward to your favorable response to thisissue.
Yours faithfully,
-----------------------
PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:
1. Sheikh Hasina
Prime Minister
Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh Office of the Prime Minister
Tejgaon, Dhaka
BANGLADESH
Fax: +880 2 811 3244 / 3243 / 1015 / 1490
Tel: +880 2 882 816 079 / 988 8677
2. Mr. Mohammad Ruhul Amin
Chief JusticeSupreme Court of Bangladesh
Supreme Court Building
Ramna, Dhaka-1000
BANGLADESH
Fax: +880 2 956 5058
Tel:+880 2 956 2792
3. Ms. Shahara Khatun
MinisterMinistry of Home Affairs
Bangladesh Secretariat
Dhaka-1000
BANGLADESH
Fax: +88-02-7160405, 88-02-7164788 (O)
Tel: +88-02-7169069 (O)
4. Mr. Mahbube Alam
Attorney General of Bangladesh
Office of the Attorney General
Supreme Court Building
Ramna, Dhaka-1000
BANGLADESH
Fax: +880 2 956 1568
Tel:+880 2 956 2868
5. General Moeen U Ahmed
Chief of Army Staff
Bangladesh Army
Army Headquarters
Dhaka Cantonment
Dhaka
BANGLADESH
Fax: +880 2 875 4455
Tel: +880 2 987 0011
6. Mr. Nur Mohammad
Inspector General of Police (IGP)
Bangladesh Police
Police Headquarters'
Fulbaria, Dhaka-1000
BANGLADESH
Fax: +880 2 956 3362 / 956 3363
Tel: +880 2 956 2054 / 717 6451 / 717 6677
7. Mr. Hassan Mahmud Khandokar
Director General (DG)
Rapid Action Battalion (RAB)
RAB Headquarter
Uttara, Dhaka
BANGLADESH
Fax: +880 2 896 2884 (O)
Tel: +880 2 896 1105 (O)
*GHRD is an International, non-governmental organisation which strives for theprotection of basic human rights throughout the world, as well as encouraginginternational awareness towards disregarded human rights violations.
Global Human Rights Defence
Laan van Meerdervoort 70
2517 AN The Hague
The Netherlands
Phone: +31 70 345 69 75
Phone: +31 70 345 34 11
Fax: +31 70 392 65 75
Postal Address:
P.O Box 1932501 CD
The Hague

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

URGENT APPEAL: Urge to Ensure the Security and Investigate Cases of Intimidations to Human Rights Defenders.

BANGLADESH INSTITUTE OF HUMAN RIGHTS: URGENT APPEAL PROGRAMME URGENT APPEAL CASE: BIHR-IUA-01-03-2009 DATE: March 04, 2009 ====================================== BANGLADESH: Urge to Ensure the Security and Investigate Cases of Intimidations to Human Rights Defenders. Dear Friends, Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights has been received a fact-finding report conducted by a high level fact-finding team of BIHR regarding to a prominent human rights defender and lawyer in Bangladesh is still under threats his life. He filed more general diary to the concerned police station but no appropriate action has been taken as well as no investigation has been conducted. BIHR urges your immediate intervention to ensure his security to save his life as well as investigate this alleged incident credibly and punishment of the alleged perpetrators in accordance with the law. . BIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: Name of the Victim :Adv. Shahanur Islam Saikot (28), Secretary General and Executive Director of Bangladesh Centre for human Rights and Development (BCHRD), Programme Manager of Legal and Human Rights Affairs at Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) and Bangladesh Rehabilitation Centre for Trauma Victims (BRCT), Member of Bangladesh Bar Council and Bar Association in Dhaka District. Present Address : 27, Bijoy Nagar, Dhaka-1000. Date & Time of the Incident :i) February 28, 2009, around at 11.28 am. General Diary against Perpetrators : Paltan Thana G.D. No-2281, Date: 28.02.09 FACT DETAILS: On February 28, 2009 around at 11.28 am, while Mr. Shahanur Islam Saikot was working his desk at Bangladesh Institution Human Rights at 27 Bijoy nagar, Dhaka-1000, a phone call from the number of 01553663666871 came to his own number 01916906300. After receiving the call while Mr. Shahanur Islam asked the caller to inform about his identity, he acquainted with him as Pintu and starting to use filthy language. When he asked the caller about the reason of such kind of misbehavior, he threatened him to shoot his head to kill. He also threatened him by expressing that if he does not kill him, he is not the son of his father. Then he switched off his cell phone. Again around at 11.32 am another call from 01711706366 came to the cell of Mr. Shahanur that no. 01720308080 and while he received the call, the caller introduced him as Pintu and again started to use filthy language. One time he threatened that he would come at the office of Mr. Shahanur by that day and killed him by shoot. He also threatened him to take mentally preparation to death. Being afraid by the threat, Mr. Shahanur Islam filed a general diary at Paltan Police Station of DMP that Palana Thana G.D. No-2281, Date: 28.02.09 stating the incident as well as praying the security of his life as well as bring the alleged perpetrator to justice by arresting Immediacy. On March 01, 2009 around at 9.52 am, the alleged perpetrator called Mr. Shahanur (Cell Phone no. 01926906300) by his cell No. 01924624825 and disclosing his identity again threatened him to kill. He also threatened that he would come immediately to kill him. BACK GROUND HISTORY: Mr. Shahanur was threatened to kill more times and more general diary were filed by him previously. On August 29, 2008 around at 10.17 pm, while Mr. Shahanur was working his desk at Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) office, one unknown person called his cell phone by his cell number 01732330005 and asked him to disclose identity and location. But due to security reason he denied it, rather asked him to disclose his identity. The person denied disclosing his identity and became angry with him. During the time of speaking he said that he is a higher authority of law enforcing agencies and he would disclose his identity and would punish Mr. Shahanur as soon as possible. At once he told that he knows him but he does not know the residential address and if he knew the address, he would come to his home and gave him exemplary punishment. Later, he told that Mr. Shahanur is going to face more suffering within a short time. He also showed bad behavior to him. After this incident on August 31, 2008 Mr. Shahanur Islam filed a General Diary to Paltan Police Station in DMP that no. 2014. ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Mr. Shahanur Islam is a prominent human rights defender and also a member of Bangladesh Bar Council and Dhaka Bar Association in Bangladesh who is currently working as a Programme Manager (Legal & Human Rights Affairs) at Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) and Bangladesh Rehabilitation Centre for Trauma Victims (BRCT). He is also General Secretary as well as Executive Director of Bangladesh Centre for Human Rights and development (BCHRD). During the time of his duties, he conducted many investigation / fact-finding missions on difference incident of human rights violation as well as issued local and international urgent appeal paying attention to concerned authority. He also filled many cases against the perpetrators as a lawyer and some of them have been punished. He also spoke with print and electronic media as like German Radio (Bengali Programme), Channel – I, ATN Bangla, NTV etc on different issues of rights as well as abuses of human rights in Bangladesh. As a human rights defender and lawyer in Bangladesh he is a strong voice to protect and promote rights of the people and also strong voice against the violation and abuses of rights in Bangladesh. SUGGESTED ACTION: Please write letters to the relevant authorities to ensure the security of Mr. Shahanur as well as asking to investigate into this alleged incident and insist that it is ensured to be a credible investigation as well as punishment of the alleged perpetrators in accordance with the law. SAMPLE LETTER Dear -------------------, Sub: Urge to Ensure the Security and Investigate Cases of Intimidations to Human Rights Defenders. I am informed by an organization in Bangladesh that Adv. Shahanur Islam Saikot received death threats on 28 February 2009 and 1 March 2009. I am writing to express our concern over this case and urge the police to conduct full and effective investigation. The victim of intimidation, Adv. Shahanur, is the Program Maanger of Legal and Human Rights Affairs at Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR). He is also affiliated with Bangladesh Centre for Human Rights and Development, Bangladesh Rehabilitation Centre for Trauma Victims, and Member of Bangladesh Bar Council and Dhaka Bar Association. When he was working at the BIHR office at 11:28 a.m. on 28 February 2009, he received a call from a person named himself as Pintu, the cell phone no. was displayed as 01553663666871. That person threatened him that 妬f he did not kill Adv. Shahaunur, he would not the son of his father. Five minutes after the first intimidating call, another call from cell phone no. 01711706366 reached the victim again. The called also claimed himself as Pintu and threatened that he would go to Adv. Shahanur’s office and shot him to dead. He also warned him to take mental preparation about his death. On 1 March, Adv. Shahanur received call from cell phone no. 01924624825 that threatened to go to his office and kill him. Likewise, several death threats were received by Adv. Shahanur on 29 August 2008. Adv. Shahanur is a human rights defender and has been active in documenting and investigating cases of human rights violations. He also widely disseminates those cases through urgent appeals nationally and internationally. I worry that the death threats that the victim received may relate to his endeavor in exposing the human rights violations in Bangladesh. I sincerely urges the police to take immediate measures to ensure the personal security of the victims as well as other human rights activists. Particularly, in order to deter further harassment to Adv. Shahanur, the police should probe the owner(s) of the cell phone nos. mentioned above and conduct effective investigation over the case. The perpetrator(s) must be punished in accordance to law. In addition, the police should offer protection to the victim to ensure his personal security before the case is resolved. Thank you for your attention and we look forward to your favorable response to this issue. Yours faithfully, ----------------------- PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:
1. Sheikh Hasina Chief Adviser Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh Office of the Prime Minister Tejgaon, Dhaka BANGLADESH Fax: +880 2 811 3244 / 3243 / 1015 / 1490 Tel: +880 2 882 816 079 / 988 8677 E-mail: pm@pmo.gov.bd or psecy@pmo.gov.bd 2. Mr. Mohammad Ruhul Amin Chief Justice Supreme Court of Bangladesh Supreme Court Building Ramna, Dhaka-1000 BANGLADESH
Fax: +880 2 956 5058 Tel: +880 2 956 2792 3. Ms. Shahara Khatun Minister Ministry of Home Affairs Bangladesh Secretariat Dhaka-1000
BANGLADESH
Fax: +88-02-7160405, 88-02-7164788 (O) Tel: +88-02-7169069 (O) 4. Mr. Mahbube Alam Attorney General of Bangladesh Office of the Attorney General Supreme Court Building Ramna, Dhaka-1000 BANGLADESH
Fax: +880 2 956 1568 Tel: +880 2 956 2868 5. General Moeen U Ahmed Chief of Army Staff Bangladesh Army Army Headquarters Dhaka Cantonment DhakaBANGLADESH
Fax: +880 2 875 4455 Tel: +880 2 987 0011 E-mail: itdte@army.mil.bd 6. Mr. Nur Mohammad Inspector General of Police (IGP) Bangladesh Police Police Headquarters' Fulbaria, Dhaka-1000 BANGLADESH
Fax: +880 2 956 3362 / 956 3363 Tel: +880 2 956 2054 / 717 6451 / 717 6677 E-mail: ig@police.gov.bd 7. Mr. Hassan Mahmud Khandokar Director General (DG) Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) RAB Headquarter Uttara, Dhaka BANGLADESH
Fax: +880 2 896 2884 (O) Tel: +880 2 896 1105 (O) E-mail: dg_rab@rab.gov.bd Thank You Urgent Appeal Programme Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) 27, Bijoy Nagar, B-17, Dhaka-1000, Bangladesh Email:saikotbihr@gmail.com; bihr@bangla.net www.bangladeshinstituteofhumanrights.blogspot.com

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

URGENT APPEAL:Urge to Investigate Cases of Intimidations to Human Rights Defendersin Bangladesh

Mr. Nur Mohammad Inspector General of Police Bangladesh Police Police Headquarters' Fulbaria, Dhaka-1000 BANGLADESH 3 March 2009 Dear Mr. Nur Mohammad,
Urge to Investigate Cases of Intimidations to Human Rights Defenders The Asian Center for the Progress of Peoples (ACPP), a regional human rights organization based in Hong Kong, is informed by an organization in Bangladesh that Adv. Shahanur Islam Saikot received death threats on 28 February 2009 and 1 March 2009. We are writing to express our concern over this case and urge the police to conduct full and effective investigation. The victim of intimidation, Adv. Shahanur, is the Program Maanger of Legal and Human Rights Affairs at Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR). He is also affiliated with Bangladesh Centre for Human Rights and Development, Bangladesh Rehabilitation Centre for Trauma Victims, and Member of Bangladesh Bar Council and Dhaka Bar Association. When he was working at the BIHR office at 11:28 a.m. on 28 February 2009, he received a call from a person named himself as Pintu, the cell phone no. was displayed as 01553666871. That person threatened him that 妬f he did not kill Adv. Shahaunur, he would not the son of his father. Five minutes after the first intimidating call, another call from cell phone no. 01711706366 reached the victim again. The called also claimed himself as Pintu and threatened that he would go to Adv. Shahanur’s office and shot him to dead. He also warned him to take mental preparation about his death. On 1 March, Adv. Shahanur received call from cell phone no. 01924624825 that threatened to go to his office and kill him. Likewise, several death threats were received by Adv. Shahanur on 29 August 2008. Adv. Shahanur is a human rights defender and has been active in documenting and investigating cases of human rights violations. He also widely disseminates those cases through urgent appeals nationally and internationally. ACPP worries that the death threats that the victim received may relate to his endeavor in exposing the human rights violations in Bangladesh. ACPP sincerely urges the police to take immediate measures to ensure the personal security of the victims as well as other human rights activists. Particularly, in order to deter further harassment to Adv. Shahanur, the police should probe the owner(s) of the cell phone nos. mentioned above and conduct effective investigation over the case. The perpetrator(s) must be punished in accordance to law. In addition, the police should offer protection to the victim to ensure his personal security before the case is resolved. Thank you for your attention and we look forward to your favorable response to this issue. Yours faithfully, Irene Koo Human Rights Section The Asian Center for the Progress of Peoples (ACPP)
1/F, 52 Princess Margaret Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong Tel :(852) 27145123; Fax: (852)27120152;
Cc.: Consul General, Consulate General of the People's Republic of Bangladesh in Hong Kong

Monday, March 2, 2009

URGENT APPEAL:A man tortured to death; relatives threatened to withdraw the case in Bangladesh

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-145-2008 3 July 2008 ------------------------------------------------------ BANGLADESH: A man tortured to death; relatives threatened to withdraw the case ISSUES: Torture; threats; torture victim ------------------------------------------------------ Dear friends, The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information from the Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) that a man was dead on the way to a hospital after being beaten by police at Chakaria Police Station on 14 May 2008. A relative filed a case against those responsible but now his family members received threats to withdraw the case. CASE DETAILS: According to information received, a recruitment agent named Shah Alam, in 2006, took TK 270,000 (USD 4,000) from Narul Amin, son of Sirajul Islam and his friend Kafiluddin, from Surajpur Manikpur village and promised to send them to Malaysia to work as labourers, but no arrangements were made. Sirajul had to sell his land and to borrow TK 50,000 (USD 740) to help his son. This money was given to Shah through Narul's neighbor, Jakir Ahmed. When Narul and Kafiluddin demanded the return of their money they could not obtain it. Narul and his neighbor Jakir went to see the Chairperson of the Union Council. Ajijul Hauque, known as 'Ajim' who instructed them to find the accused. On 12 May 2008, they caught Shah and took him to Ajijul whereupon they were told to take him to the local army camp. At 3pm on May 14, Amin, his father Islam, his grandfather Mohammad Kalu and some friends and neighbours set out for the army camp with Shah. It is reported that at this time, the wife of Shah visited the Chairperson Ajijul and offered him a bribe for the safe return of her husband. Narul received a phone call from Ajijul on his mobile that instructed him to take Shah to the Chakaria Police Station, assuring him that he would receive all of his money that had been taken. At 9pm, Narul, Shah and the group of friends and family traveling with them arrived at the police station whereupon the Sub Inspector (SI) Hafizur Rahman, the Officer in Charge (OC) Rahul Amin, SI Abul Kalam Azad and Abu Taher Siddique the officers on duty, called Narul by his name. When Narul identified himself, the police officers allegedly started beating him with batons and rifle butts, kicked him with their boots and slapped him. Abusive and derogatory language were also used. The Chairman Aijujul also arrived at the police station but did nothing to stop the assault by the police. Sirajul upon seeing his son being severely beaten begged, first the Chairman, who ignored his pleas, then SI Hafizur to stop. However, SI Hafizur hit Sirajul in the chest with his baton and as Sirajul fell to the floor, he continued to kick him with his boot in the chest and the lower part of his belly. Sirajul was taken to Chakaria hospital but then moved to Chittagong Medical College Hospital for treatment but died along the way. The other police officers during this time allegedly kept on beating Narul. Narul fell unconscious until 8am the following day of 15 May. When he regained consciousness, he was informed that a case was filed against him (Case No. 09/122 of 2008 under Section 364 and 34 of the Penal Code) and he was taken into custody. Later, Narul learned that the charge against him was recorded under section 364 (Kidnapping or Abduction in order to murder) & 34 (Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Penal Code. Mrs. Raihan Akter, wife of Shah Alam lodged the case against him dated May 14 at 11:40pm. The Charge stated that Mr. Shah Alam was abducted by Nurul Amin along with his accomplices on May 12 from Bania Chhara station of Boroitali union under Cox's Bazar district while he was on his way to his elder brother who lives in Dhaka and took him to the hill of Vilager para under Surajpur--Manikpur village in Cox's Bazar district. Then, Mr. Nurul Amin, through a cell phone, demanded TK 300,000.00 (USD 4,450) from Shah Alam's wife as ransom for his release. Otherwise they threatened to kill her husband Mr. Shah Alam. Thereafter, she rescued her husband with the help of local people and detained Mr. Nurul Amin along with Kafil Uddin around 11pm on May 14 and handed them over to the Chakaria police Station. However, when local human rights groups examined the First Information Report (FIR) of the Chakaria Police Station, they found overwriting on the date and time of the alleged incident as well as the time of filing the case. On May 15, as the news about the death of Sirajul Islam became known to the public, the local people congregated and formed a protest at the Chakaria Police Station expressing their anger. Some protesters threw small stones and pieces of brick at the policemen in a clash that lasted for four hours, which caused 15 people to be injured. After this protest, Narul was released from custody. The Superintendent of Police (SP) of Cox's Bazar district Mr. Bonoj Kumar Majumder reportedly issued an oral executive order asking the Chakaria police over the telephone to release Narul as a result of spontaneous public protest. Among the protestors Ms. Nur Zahan Begum, Mr. Nurul Afsar, Mr. Abul Kalam, Ms. Rehena Begum laid siege near the Chakaria police station in the morning of 15 May 2008, triggering a chase and counter chase.They are brutally beaten by the police receiving serious injuries. Narul claims that a post-mortem report showed that his father had died of high blood pressure rather than the beating by the police. He further claims that the report was strongly influenced by the police officers. Nurul Islam, the younger brother of Sirajul Islam, who also went to the police station on May 15 with relatives and neighbours to request the body of Sirajul Islam was beaten with baton and rifles by SI Abul Kalam Azad and other police officers present, fracturing the lower part of his right leg. He had to seek treatment from a local village doctor. Following the death, the father of Islam, Mohammod Kalu filed a case (No. 1076 of 2008) against those responsible police officers regarding the death of his son and the severe assault on his grandson before the Chief Judicial Magistrate in the court of Cox's Bazar on 15 May 2008. The court ordered the Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Sorwar Alam to investigate this matter. On 26 May, Nurul Amin filed a petition before the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court of Cox's Bazar seeking inclusion of some other person's names in the case lodged by Mr. Kalu. It was alleged that the local union Parishad Chairman Ajijul Haque insisted that Mr. Kalu settle the matter by taking some amount of money from the police. When Kalu and relatives of the deceased refused to settle, the Chairman threatened to kill Kalu using a terrorist. The alleged perpetrators also threatened Kalu and his family members by cell phone to withdraw the case. The police also threatened to implicate them in false cases and even killing, if the case was not withdrawn. Up to now they have been subject to continuous pressure to withdraw the case and family members of the deceased are feeling insecure. In the meantime, the SP of Cox's Bazar Mr. Bonoj Kumar Majumder announced that the accused SI Mr. Hafizur Rahman has been temporarily suspended and the OC has been transferred to Khagrachhari Police Station as punishment. When contacted , Mr. Sorower Alam, ASP of Cox's Bazar, who was assigned as the investigating officer of the case, said that the investigation was in progress and refused to share any details of his findings. The report will be sent to the court when it is completed. On the other hand, Nurul Amin, one of the victims beaten by police, alleges that the investigating officer was trying to prove the incident "false". Nurul alleges that the authorities repeatedly refused disclosing the autopsy report to the public and to the relatives of the deceased. He approached the Chakaria Police Station and was instructed to go to the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court for the postmortem report. But when Nurul applied to the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court to provide a copy of the postmortem report, the Court directed him to contact the Chakaria Police Station. Later, when he again applied to the Chakaria Police Station, they denied his request saying that they had not yet received the report. Nurul applied to the concerned doctor of Cox's Bazar Sadar Hospital, who conducted the autopsy. The doctor informed Nurul that he has already sent the report to the concerned higher authority in Dhaka. However, the doctor refused to mention the identity of the higher authority. Since the incident, the police administration has termed Sirajul's death was due to a "heart attack" even though they did not finish investigating the case. They also mentioned that the autopsy report proved the death was due to a heart attack. ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Police impunity, bribery, corruption and the filing of false charges by police are all common place and widespread in Bangladesh. The unrestricted power of the police used against ordinary citizens prevents the rule of law from securing justice and fair retribution for them. The system of jurisprudence in Bangladesh allows those with economic power and authority to strongly influence a case from its original registration to its hearing in court. The poor have few rights or opportunities to see justice done. They are often victims of intimidation, verbal abuse and strong pressure to withdraw complaints particularly against police officers, politicians or those in positions of power. SUGGESTED ACTION: Please write letters to the relevant authorities to investigate this alleged incident and ensure the perpetrators of this injustice and violence, that resulted in the death of a man and many injured, are punished in accordance with the law. The AHRC has also written separate letters to Special Rapporteur on the Question of Torture calling for an intervention in this case. SAMPLE LETTER: Dear ________, BANGLADESH: A man tortured to death; relatives threatened to withdraw the case Name of victim (killed): 1. Mr. Sirajul Islam, son of Mohammod Kalu Mia Name of victim (tortured): 1. Mr. Mohammed Kalu Mia 2. Mr. Nurul Amin, son of Sirajul Islam 3. Nur Zahan Begum, relative of Sirajul Islam 4. Nurul Afsar5. Abul Kalam 6. Rehena Begum (All are living in Surajpur-Manikpur village, Chakaria, Cox's Bazar district) Name of alleged perpetrators: 1. Ruhul Amin Siddique, Officer in Charge 2. Harizur Rahman, Sub Inspector 3. Abul Kalam Azad, Sub Inspector 4. Abu Taher Siddique, Sub Inspector Place of incident: Chakaria Police Station, Cox's Bazar district Date of incident: from 14 to 15 May 2008 I am informed that police brutality has resulted in the death of Sirajul Islam and physical attacks on both his son, Nurul Amin, and his brother, Nurul Islam, and many others.?Such actions by the police must be investigated.?Sirajul Islam died trying to help his son and stop police violence by officers who believe that they are immune from the rule of law.?Their actions led to an enormous outburst of?angry protest by the local villagers. They displayed their anger towards the policemen at Chakaria police station in a demonstration that lasted for four hours and resulted in 15 people being injured.?This alone is testament to the frustration and injustice felt by the poor in Bangladesh who have virtually no rights. The police officers actions on 14 May have violated a number of human rights as laid out in the United Nation Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights?(ICCPR) which require state parties to uphold the right to life, protection from inhuman or degrading treatment and the right to a fair trial.? The Government of Bangladesh must act to tackle the serious, illegal actions of these police officers and the bribery and corruption that is endemic throughout the police force.?Justice should not be able to be bought by the wealthy and powerful. The government must act to stand up for human rights.?At present the accused police officers have been temporarily suspended or transferred to other districts, neither of which is fair nor appropriate punishment for their actions. I urge you to request the following actions: 1. an investigation, independent of the police force, to enquire into the cause of the death of Sirajul Islam and the violence done to his son and brother; 2. an assurance of just punishment of the perpetrators in accordance with the rule of law; 3. an impartial forensic team to perform the postmortem; 4. a financial compensation for the family and victims of the violence; 5. an education and training of the police force on human rights, national laws and international human rights standards.?Bangladesh is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and should be working to ensure that these articles are upheld. Yours sincerely, ---------------- PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO: 1. Dr. Fakhruddin Ahmed Chief Adviser Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh Office of the Chief Advisor Tejgaon, Dhaka BANGLADESH Fax: +880 2 811 3244 / 3243 / 1015 / 1490 Tel: +880 2 882 816 079 / 988 8677 2. Mr. Mohammad Ruhul Amin Chief Justice Supreme Court of Bangladesh Supreme Court Building Ramna, Dhaka-1000 BANGLADESH Fax: +880 2 956 5058Tel: +880 2 956 2792 3. Mr. A F Hassan Arif AdviserMinistry of Law, Justice & Parliamentary Affairs Bangladesh Secretariat Dhaka-1000 BANGLADESH Tel: +88-02-7160627 (O)Fax: +88-02-7168557 (O) 4. Barrister Fida M Kamal Attorney General of Bangladesh Office of the Attorney General Supreme Court Building Ramna, Dhaka-1000 BANGLADESH Fax: +880 2 956 1568Tel: +880 2 956 2868 5. Mr. Nur Mohammad Inspector General of Police (IGP) Bangladesh Police Police Headquarters' Fulbaria, Dhaka-1000 BANGLADESH Fax: +880 2 956 3362 / 956 3363 Tel: +880 2 956 2054 / 717 6451 / 717 6677 6. Mr. A.K.M Shahidul Hoque Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG)-Chittagong Range Office of the DIG of Chittagong Range Zakir Hossain RoadKhulshi, Chittagong BANGLADESH Tel: +88 031 650120, 655466 (O) Fax: +88 031 652111 (O) Thank you. Urgent Appeal Programme Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrchk.org)