Tuesday, June 30, 2009

URGENT APPEAL: A young tribal man torture to death by military forces at Shuvalong under Rangamati district in Bangladesh.

BANGLADESH INSTITUTE OF HUMAN RIGHTS URGENT APPEAL PROGRAMME

URGENT APPEAL CASE: BIHR-IUA-29-06-2009

BANGLADESH: A young tribal man torture to death by military forces at Shuvalong under Rangamati district in Bangladesh.

========================================

DATE: June 30, 2009

ISSUES: Arbitrary arrest; torture, extrajudicial killing and impunity

=========================================

Dear Friends

Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights has been received a report from its reliable network organization regarding a tribal Youngman torture to death at Shuvalong under Rangamati district in Bangladesh by military forces. Though the victim family demanded to make a credible investigation to bring the allege perpetrators before justice, yet no proper action has been taken by the concern authority.

BIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION:

Name of the Victim : Mr. Tarun Kusum Chakma (30)

Father name : Gunadhar Chakma

Address of the Victim :Vill: Bhushanchara, Union: Harina, Upazila: Barkal Dist: Rangamati, Bangladesh

Present address : Moitreenagar, Ps & Dist: Rangamati

Date of arrest : June 26, 2008, around at 9.30 a m

Place of arrest : Shuvalong bazzar under Rangamati district

Date of torture and Murder : June 26, 2008,

Name of the alleged person : i) Major Manjur, 6, Bengle, Shuvalong camp

ii) Warrant Officer Saiful, 6, Bengle, Shuvalong camp and

iii) Corporal Atik, 6, Bengle, Shuvalong camp

FACT DETAILS:

Mr. Tarun Kusum Chakma (30), s/o Gunadhar Chakma was a permanent resident of Bhushanchara of Harina union under Barkal upazila (sub-district) in Rangamati district, but stayed at Moitreenagar under Rangamati municipality with his family. He was an innocent youth and used to earning by day labour or by collection of forest products for family survival. Couple of days ago, he went to Shuvalong area for earnings. It is mentionable that he was active supporter of PCJSS for implementation of the CHT Accord.

On 26 June Friday was a market day of Shuvalong Bazaar. Like other villagers, he also went to Shuvalong bazzar for marketing. However, a group of members of UPDF, an anti-accord terrorist organisation, with the help of Mintu Bikash Chakma (who is familiar as Bhumihin Mintu), caught Tarun Kusum Chakam while he got down Shuvalong Bazaar from a steamer at around 9.30 am. Then he was handed over to Shuvalong camp authority after heavily torture labeling him as miscreant. However, camp authority released him found nothing after interrogation.

Again, UPDF men tried to catch him when he reached at Bazaar after getting release from army custody. Having no alternative to safe his life, he tried to escape from UPDF attack and jumped over the lake (Kaptai Lake) near Shuvalong forest outpost. At that time, a group of army led by Warrant Officer Saiful and Corporal Atik of 6 Bengal and a group of UPDF men ran after him by two separate boats when he was swimming for escaping. But the army shot him when he came to land near Dhanmia shrine. He sustained bullet injuries on his leg and scrotum. The military forces led by Warrant Officer Saiful and Corporal Atik started to torture brutally. At a stage, the neck of Tarun Kasum was broken. There were several wounded on his body.

Army personnel arrested another Jumma youth named Elen Chakma from the spot. UPDF claimed him as member of the UPDF who went to spot to help army to catch so-called miscreants.

However, the army authority of Shuvalong camp make several fabricated news in order to conceal their misdeed which were published on several national and local dailies and aired on electronic media. The army firstly made propaganda that a dozen of armed miscreants led by Tarun Kusum Chakma proceeded toward Suvalong Bazar to commit sabotage activities. Being informed, army challenged them when the armed miscreants reached at the place near Dhanmia shrine at about 11.00 am. At one stage, the miscreants started fleeing the scene by firing gunshots at army. The army also retaliated by firing bullets, leaving Tarun Kusum Chakma dead on the spot.

The army made second story that clash between two rival groups took place near Shuvalong bazaar. Being informed, the army rushed there and recovered dead body of Tarun Kusum Chakma from the spot.

The army made another third story that the miscreants led by Tarun Kusum Chakma made armed attack on a group of regular patrolling party of the military forces when they (army) reached Dhanmia shrine. Even, army firstly named Tarun Kusum as Jagadish Chakma.

These stories were fully fabricated and motivated. The people who came to market witnessed that he was caught by UPDF men and handed over to army. Victim’s younger brother Palash Chakma said that he was not involved with any terrorist activity. He was fully innocent.

It is also worth mentioning that Elen Chakma, who was arrested during the incident, was claimed as member of the UPDF in a press release by Shantidev Chakma, chief of Rangamati district. Shantidev mentioned that Elen went there to help army to catch the victim and the army mistakenly arrested him. This statement of UPDF proved that UPDF men also involved with this heinous killing.

The dead body was brought in Rangamati sadar hospital for post mortem in the evening on 26 June. The dead body was handed over to victim’s elder sister and younger brother afternoon on 27 June.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

Military forces deployed in Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) continued to be responsible for extra-judicial killings and for custodial killings since long time.

The CHT Accord signed between Government of Bangladesh and Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (PCJSS) on 2 December 1997 stipulates for demilitarization of the CHT region. However, the army was entrusted responsibility to combat law and order situation by imposing de facto military rule ‘Operation Uttoron’ in 2001. Consequently, the military forces continue having the negative attitude toward CHT and indigenous Jumma people. The military forces are also against the withdrawal of temporary camps from CHT though CHT Accord provides to do the same. With this view, they once again has taken up the programme of operation in CHT and highlighting it in the news media widely so that they can thwart the government to have any camp withdrawn or closed down at this moment.

Though Awami League-led present grand alliance government assured in its election manifesto that it would implement the CHT Accord fully and stop extra-judicial killing in the country. However, extra-judicial killings, arbitrary arrest, frequently checking, conducting military operation through out the CHT, helping Bengali settlers in occupying indigenous Jumma people’s land and expansion of cluster villages of Bengali settlers by the military forces continued unabated in CHT. Killing of Tarun Kusum Chakma was a result of military atrocities in CHT.

LEGAL FRAMEWORK:

The practice of torture is considered one of the most serious human rights crimes and as such it is part of jus cogens. No person, regardless whether he is a criminal or not, should be subjected to torture by law enforcement officers in any circumstances.

The Constitution of Bangladesh Article 35 (5) prohibits torture. Bangladesh is also a state party to the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), since October 1998. However, by refusing to implement Article 14 of CAT, an integral part of the convention which guarantees victims the legally-enforceable right of redress, rehabilitation and compensation, the government has effectively negated its commitment to the entire treaty.

In sum, despite joining CAT and having a constitutional provision prohibiting torture, the Government of Bangladesh has taken no steps to criminalize torture, passed no treaty enabling legislation or amended domestic laws to give access to remedies, rehabilitation or compensation for victims. Finally, individuals who have suffered torture only have recourse to national remedies.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:

The death of Tarun Kusum Chakma in army custody is not a surprise, and not an isolated incident in Bangladesh. It reveals the picture of the level of arbitrariness, abuse of power and torture-friendly practices and laws as well as systematic denial of justice from the very beginning of the cases of gross human rights violations in Bangladesh. The enjoyment of arbitrary authority to do whatever the law-enforcers want to do and the State's complete failure to hold those officials accountable has plunged the country into such problems. In other words, the law-enforcement agencies have exercised excessive and arbitrary power with blatant impunity from superior authorities and policy-makers for decades. If there is any credible investigation held, numerous similar cases will be discovered.

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 are punished in accordance with the law.

In particular, the government of Bangladesh should:

§ Form an independent commission headed by a High Court Judge with a view to enquire into the matter to ascertain the cause of death of Tarun Kusum Chakma as well as publish it asap’

§ Ensure exemplary punishment of the perpetrators who were directly and indirectly involved in this gross violation of human rights;

§ Provide adequate financial compensation to the victim and victim’s family as well as guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of victim and victim’s family;

§ To withdraw all temporary camps of army, Ansar, APBN and VDPs including de facto military rule ‘Operation Uttoron’ as per CHT Accord soon and implement the CHT Accord in letter and spirit;

§ Ensure the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms throughout the country in accordance with national laws and international human rights standards;

§ Provide human rights education and training to the Police Inspectors and policemen who run police stations;

§ Remove reservation from the Art.14 of Convention Against Torture, accepting victims right to compensation;

SAMPLE LETTER:

BANGLADESH: A tribal Young man torture to death by military forces at Shuvalong under Rangamati district in Bangladesh

Date:........................

Dear.........................

I am deeply concerned with the news received from reliable source regarding a tribal Youngman Mr. Tarun Kusum Chakma torture to death by military forces at Shuvalong under Rangamati district in Bangladesh.

I am inform that Mr. Tarun Kusum Chakma (30), s/o Gunadhar Chakma was a permanent resident of Bhushanchara of Harina union under Barkal upazila (sub-district) in Rangamati district, but stayed at Moitreenagar under Rangamati municipality with his family. He was an innocent youth and used to earning by day labour or by collection of forest products for family survival. Couple of days ago, he went to Shuvalong area for earnings. It is mentionable that he was active supporter of PCJSS for implementation of the CHT Accord.

On 26 June Friday was a market day of Shuvalong Bazaar. Like other villagers, he also went to Shuvalong bazzar for marketing. However, a group of members of UPDF, an anti-accord terrorist organisation, with the help of Mintu Bikash Chakma (who is familiar as Bhumihin Mintu), caught Tarun Kusum Chakam while he got down Shuvalong Bazaar from a steamer at around 9.30 am. Then he was handed over to Shuvalong camp authority after heavily torture labeling him as miscreant. However, camp authority released him found nothing after interrogation.

Again, UPDF men tried to catch him when he reached at Bazaar after getting release from army custody. Having no alternative to safe his life, he tried to escape from UPDF attack and jumped over the lake (Kaptai Lake) near Shuvalong forest outpost. At that time, a group of army led by Warrant Officer Saiful and Corporal Atik of 6 Bengal and a group of UPDF men ran after him by two separate boats when he was swimming for escaping. But the army shot him when he came to land near Dhanmia shrine. He sustained bullet injuries on his leg and scrotum. The military forces led by Warrant Officer Saiful and Corporal Atik started to torture brutally. At a stage, the neck of Tarun Kasum was broken. There were several wounded on his body.

Army personnel arrested another Jumma youth named Elen Chakma from the spot. UPDF claimed him as member of the UPDF who went to spot to help army to catch so-called miscreants.

However, the army authority of Shuvalong camp make several fabricated news in order to conceal their misdeed which were published on several national and local dailies and aired on electronic media. The army firstly made propaganda that a dozen of armed miscreants led by Tarun Kusum Chakma proceeded toward Suvalong Bazar to commit sabotage activities. Being informed, army challenged them when the armed miscreants reached at the place near Dhanmia shrine at about 11.00 am. At one stage, the miscreants started fleeing the scene by firing gunshots at army. The army also retaliated by firing bullets, leaving Tarun Kusum Chakma dead on the spot.

The army made second story that clash between two rival groups took place near Shuvalong bazaar. Being informed, the army rushed there and recovered dead body of Tarun Kusum Chakma from the spot.

The army made another third story that the miscreants led by Tarun Kusum Chakma made armed attack on a group of regular patrolling party of the military forces when they (army) reached Dhanmia shrine. Even, army firstly named Tarun Kusum as Jagadish Chakma.

These stories were fully fabricated and motivated. The people who came to market witnessed that he was caught by UPDF men and handed over to army. Victim’s younger brother Palash Chakma said that he was not involved with any terrorist activity. He was fully innocent.

It is also worth mentioning that Elen Chakma, who was arrested during the incident, was claimed as member of the UPDF in a press release by Shantidev Chakma, chief of Rangamati district. Shantidev mentioned that Elen went there to help army to catch the victim and the army mistakenly arrested him. This statement of UPDF proved that UPDF men also involved with this heinous killing.

The dead body was brought in Rangamati sadar hospital for post mortem in the evening on 26 June. The dead body was handed over to victim’s elder sister and younger brother afternoon on 27 June.

I therefore request you to ensure that adequate investigations are carried out to ensure that the perpetrators are punished and that the victims receive necessary legal assistance and compensation for the damages caused.

In particular, the government of Bangladesh should:

§ Form an independent commission headed by a High Court Judge with a view to enquire into the matter to ascertain the cause of death of Tarun Kusum Chakma as well as publish it asap’

§ Ensure exemplary punishment of the perpetrators who were directly and indirectly involved in this gross violation of human rights;

§ Provide adequate financial compensation to the victim and victim’s family as well as guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of victim and victim’s family;

§ To withdraw all temporary camps of army, Ansar, APBN and VDPs including de facto military rule ‘Operation Uttoron’ as per CHT Accord soon and implement the CHT Accord in letter and spirit;

§ Ensure the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms throughout the country in accordance with national laws and international human rights standards;

§ Provide human rights education and training to the Police Inspectors and policemen who run police stations;

§ Remove reservation from the Art.14 of Convention Against Torture, accepting victims right to compensation;

I trust that you will take immediate action on this serious matter.

Yours sincerely,

------------------

PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

Ms. Sheikh Hasina

Honourable Prime Minister

Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh

Prime Minister’s Office, Tejgaon, Dhaka

BANGLADESH

Fax : +880 2 8113243 / 3244 / 1015 / 1490

Email: Info@pmo.gov.bd, 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, Tel: +880 2 956 2792

Dr. Dipu Moni

Honorable Minister

Foreign Ministry

Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh

Dhaka, BANGLADESH

Fax: +880 2 9558566, Tel: 956-2852

Ms. Sahara Khatun

Honorable Minister

Ministry Home Affairs

Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh

Bangladesh Secretariat, Dhaka

BANGLADESH

Fax: +88-02-7160405, 88-02-7164788 (O), Tel:+88-02-7169069 (O)

Mr. Dipankar Talukdar MP

Honorable State Minister

CHT Affairs Ministry

Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh

Bangladesh Secretariat, Dhaka

BANGLADESH

Tel: +880-2- 7161774

E-mail: mochtadh@bttb.net

Mr. Jyotirindra Bodhipriya Larma

Chairman

CHT Regional Council

Rangamati, Chittagong Hill Tracts

BANGLADESH

Tel: +88-0351-63381;Fax: 0351-63278

E-mail: chtrc@yahoo.com

Mr. Promod Mankin, MP

Chairman

Parliamentary Standing Committee on CHT Affairs Ministry

Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban, Dhaka

BANGLADESH

Justice (Rtd) Amirul Kabir Chowdhury

Chairman

Bangladesh National Human Rights Commission

House # 6/3, Block # D, Lalmatia, Dhaka

BANGLADESH

Tel: +88 02 9137724

General Md Abdul Mubeen

Chief of Army Staff

Bangladesh Army

Army Headquarters

Dhaka Cantonment, Dhaka

BANGLADESH

Fax: +880 2 875 4455, Tel: +880 2 987 0011

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, Tel: +880 2 956 2054 / 717 6451 / 717 6677

E-mail: ig@police.gov.bd

Thank You

Shahanur Islam Saikot

LL.B(Hon’s)’ LL,M(Law & Justice)

Advocate

Programme Manager-Legal & Human Rights

Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR)

27, Bijoy Nagar, B-17, Dhaka-1000, Bangladesh

Cell: +88 017 20308080, Phone: +88 02 9349851

Email:saikotbihr@gmail.com; bihr@bangla.net

www.bihr-bihr.blogspot.com

URGENT APPEAL: BANGLADESH: A young tribal man torture to death by military forces at Shuvalong under Rangamati district in Bangladesh.

BANGLADESH INSTITUTE OF HUMAN RIGHTS URGENT APPEAL PROGRAMME
URGENT APPEAL CASE: BIHR-IUA-29-06-2009 BANGLADESH: A young tribal man torture to death by military forces at Shuvalong under Rangamati district in Bangladesh. ======================================== DATE: June 29, 2009 ISSUES: Arbitrary arrest; torture, extrajudicial killing and impunity ========================================= Dear Friends Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights has been received a fact finding report from its reliable network organization regarding a tribal Youngman torture to death at Shuvalong under Rangamati district in Bangladesh by military forces. Though the victim family demanded to make a credible investigation to bring the allege perpetrators before justice, yet no proper action has been taken by the concern authority. BIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: Name of the Victim : Mr. Tarun Kusum Chakma (30) Father name : Gunadhar Chakma Address of the Victim :Vill: Bhushanchara, Union: Harina, Upazila: Barkal Dist: Rangamati, Bangladesh Present address : Moitreenagar, Ps & Dist: Rangamati Date of arrest : June 26, 2008, around at 9.30 a m Place of arrest : Shuvalong bazzar under Rangamati district Date of torture and Murder : June 26, 2008, Name of the alleged person : i) Major Manjur, 6, Bengle, Shuvalong camp ii) Warrant Officer Saiful, 6, Bengle, Shuvalong camp and iii) Corporal Atik, 6, Bengle, Shuvalong camp FACT DETAILS: Mr. Tarun Kusum Chakma (30), s/o Gunadhar Chakma was a permanent resident of Bhushanchara of Harina union under Barkal upazila (sub-district) in Rangamati district, but stayed at Moitreenagar under Rangamati municipality with his family. He was an innocent youth and used to earning by day labour or by collection of forest products for family survival. Couple of days ago, he went to Shuvalong area for earnings. It is mentionable that he was active supporter of PCJSS for implementation of the CHT Accord. On 26 June Friday was a market day of Shuvalong Bazaar. Like other villagers, he also went to Shuvalong bazzar for marketing. However, a group of members of UPDF, an anti-accord terrorist organisation, with the help of Mintu Bikash Chakma (who is familiar as Bhumihin Mintu), caught Tarun Kusum Chakam while he got down Shuvalong Bazaar from a steamer at around 9.30 am. Then he was handed over to Shuvalong camp authority after heavily torture labeling him as miscreant. However, camp authority released him found nothing after interrogation. Again, UPDF men tried to catch him when he reached at Bazaar after getting release from army custody. Having no alternative to safe his life, he tried to escape from UPDF attack and jumped over the lake (Kaptai Lake) near Shuvalong forest outpost. At that time, a group of army led by Warrant Officer Saiful and Corporal Atik of 6 Bengal and a group of UPDF men ran after him by two separate boats when he was swimming for escaping. But the army shot him when he came to land near Dhanmia shrine. He sustained bullet injuries on his leg and scrotum. The military forces led by Warrant Officer Saiful and Corporal Atik started to torture brutally. At a stage, the neck of Tarun Kasum was broken. There were several wounded on his body. Army personnel arrested another Jumma youth named Elen Chakma from the spot. UPDF claimed him as member of the UPDF who went to spot to help army to catch so-called miscreants. However, the army authority of Shuvalong camp make several fabricated news in order to conceal their misdeed which were published on several national and local dailies and aired on electronic media. The army firstly made propaganda that a dozen of armed miscreants led by Tarun Kusum Chakma proceeded toward Suvalong Bazar to commit sabotage activities. Being informed, army challenged them when the armed miscreants reached at the place near Dhanmia shrine at about 11.00 am. At one stage, the miscreants started fleeing the scene by firing gunshots at army. The army also retaliated by firing bullets, leaving Tarun Kusum Chakma dead on the spot. The army made second story that clash between two rival groups took place near Shuvalong bazaar. Being informed, the army rushed there and recovered dead body of Tarun Kusum Chakma from the spot. The army made another third story that the miscreants led by Tarun Kusum Chakma made armed attack on a group of regular patrolling party of the military forces when they (army) reached Dhanmia shrine. Even, army firstly named Tarun Kusum as Jagadish Chakma. These stories were fully fabricated and motivated. The people who came to market witnessed that he was caught by UPDF men and handed over to army. Victim’s younger brother Palash Chakma said that he was not involved with any terrorist activity. He was fully innocent. It is also worth mentioning that Elen Chakma, who was arrested during the incident, was claimed as member of the UPDF in a press release by Shantidev Chakma, chief of Rangamati district. Shantidev mentioned that Elen went there to help army to catch the victim and the army mistakenly arrested him. This statement of UPDF proved that UPDF men also involved with this heinous killing. The dead body was brought in Rangamati sadar hospital for post mortem in the evening on 26 June. The dead body was handed over to victim’s elder sister and younger brother afternoon on 27 June. BACKGROUND INFORMATION: Military forces deployed in Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) continued to be responsible for extra-judicial killings and for custodial killings since long time. The CHT Accord signed between Government of Bangladesh and Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (PCJSS) on 2 December 1997 stipulates for demilitarization of the CHT region. However, the army was entrusted responsibility to combat law and order situation by imposing de facto military rule ‘Operation Uttoron’ in 2001. Consequently, the military forces continue having the negative attitude toward CHT and indigenous Jumma people. The military forces are also against the withdrawal of temporary camps from CHT though CHT Accord provides to do the same. With this view, they once again has taken up the programme of operation in CHT and highlighting it in the news media widely so that they can thwart the government to have any camp withdrawn or closed down at this moment. Though Awami League-led present grand alliance government assured in its election manifesto that it would implement the CHT Accord fully and stop extra-judicial killing in the country. However, extra-judicial killings, arbitrary arrest, frequently checking, conducting military operation through out the CHT, helping Bengali settlers in occupying indigenous Jumma people’s land and expansion of cluster villages of Bengali settlers by the military forces continued unabated in CHT. Killing of Tarun Kusum Chakma was a result of military atrocities in CHT. LEGAL FRAMEWORK: The practice of torture is considered one of the most serious human rights crimes and as such it is part of jus cogens. No person, regardless whether he is a criminal or not, should be subjected to torture by law enforcement officers in any circumstances. The Constitution of Bangladesh Article 35 (5) prohibits torture. Bangladesh is also a state party to the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), since October 1998. However, by refusing to implement Article 14 of CAT, an integral part of the convention which guarantees victims the legally-enforceable right of redress, rehabilitation and compensation, the government has effectively negated its commitment to the entire treaty. In sum, despite joining CAT and having a constitutional provision prohibiting torture, the Government of Bangladesh has taken no steps to criminalise torture, passed no treaty enabling legislation or amended domestic laws to give access to remedies, rehabilitation or compensation for victims. Finally, individuals who have suffered torture only have recourse to national remedies. ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: The death of Tarun Kusum Chakma in army custody is not a surprise, and not an isolated incident in Bangladesh. It reveals the picture of the level of arbitrariness, abuse of power and torture-friendly practices and laws as well as systematic denial of justice from the very beginning of the cases of gross human rights violations in Bangladesh. The enjoyment of arbitrary authority to do whatever the law-enforcers want to do and the State's complete failure to hold those officials accountable has plunged the country into such problems. In other words, the law-enforcement agencies have exercised excessive and arbitrary power with blatant impunity from superior authorities and policy-makers for decades. If there is any credible investigation held, numerous similar cases will be discovered. 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 are punished in accordance with the law. In particular, the government of Bangladesh should:  Form an independent commission headed by a High Court Judge with a view to enquire into the matter to ascertain the cause of death of Tarun Kusum Chakma as well as publish it asap’  Ensure exemplary punishment of the perpetrators who were directly and indirectly involved in this gross violation of human rights;  Provide adequate financial compensation to the victim and victim’s family as well as guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of victim and victim’s family;  To withdraw all temporary camps of army, Ansar, APBN and VDPs including de facto military rule ‘Operation Uttoron’ as per CHT Accord soon and implement the CHT Accord in letter and spirit;  Ensure the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms throughout the country in accordance with national laws and international human rights standards;  Provide human rights education and training to the Police Inspectors and policemen who run police stations;  Remove reservation from the Art.14 of Convention Against Torture, accepting victims right to compensation; SAMPLE LETTER: BANGLADESH: A tribal Youngman torture to death by military forces at Shuvalong under Rangamati district in Bangladesh Date:........................ Dear......................... I am deeply concerned with the news received from reliable source regarding a tribal Youngman Mr. Tarun Kusum Chakma torture to death by military forces at Shuvalong under Rangamati district in Bangladesh. I am inform that Mr. Tarun Kusum Chakma (30), s/o Gunadhar Chakma was a permanent resident of Bhushanchara of Harina union under Barkal upazila (sub-district) in Rangamati district, but stayed at Moitreenagar under Rangamati municipality with his family. He was an innocent youth and used to earning by day labour or by collection of forest products for family survival. Couple of days ago, he went to Shuvalong area for earnings. It is mentionable that he was active supporter of PCJSS for implementation of the CHT Accord. On 26 June Friday was a market day of Shuvalong Bazaar. Like other villagers, he also went to Shuvalong bazzar for marketing. However, a group of members of UPDF, an anti-accord terrorist organisation, with the help of Mintu Bikash Chakma (who is familiar as Bhumihin Mintu), caught Tarun Kusum Chakam while he got down Shuvalong Bazaar from a steamer at around 9.30 am. Then he was handed over to Shuvalong camp authority after heavily torture labeling him as miscreant. However, camp authority released him found nothing after interrogation. Again, UPDF men tried to catch him when he reached at Bazaar after getting release from army custody. Having no alternative to safe his life, he tried to escape from UPDF attack and jumped over the lake (Kaptai Lake) near Shuvalong forest outpost. At that time, a group of army led by Warrant Officer Saiful and Corporal Atik of 6 Bengal and a group of UPDF men ran after him by two separate boats when he was swimming for escaping. But the army shot him when he came to land near Dhanmia shrine. He sustained bullet injuries on his leg and scrotum. The military forces led by Warrant Officer Saiful and Corporal Atik started to torture brutally. At a stage, the neck of Tarun Kasum was broken. There were several wounded on his body. Army personnel arrested another Jumma youth named Elen Chakma from the spot. UPDF claimed him as member of the UPDF who went to spot to help army to catch so-called miscreants. However, the army authority of Shuvalong camp make several fabricated news in order to conceal their misdeed which were published on several national and local dailies and aired on electronic media. The army firstly made propaganda that a dozen of armed miscreants led by Tarun Kusum Chakma proceeded toward Suvalong Bazar to commit sabotage activities. Being informed, army challenged them when the armed miscreants reached at the place near Dhanmia shrine at about 11.00 am. At one stage, the miscreants started fleeing the scene by firing gunshots at army. The army also retaliated by firing bullets, leaving Tarun Kusum Chakma dead on the spot. The army made second story that clash between two rival groups took place near Shuvalong bazaar. Being informed, the army rushed there and recovered dead body of Tarun Kusum Chakma from the spot. The army made another third story that the miscreants led by Tarun Kusum Chakma made armed attack on a group of regular patrolling party of the military forces when they (army) reached Dhanmia shrine. Even, army firstly named Tarun Kusum as Jagadish Chakma. These stories were fully fabricated and motivated. The people who came to market witnessed that he was caught by UPDF men and handed over to army. Victim’s younger brother Palash Chakma said that he was not involved with any terrorist activity. He was fully innocent. It is also worth mentioning that Elen Chakma, who was arrested during the incident, was claimed as member of the UPDF in a press release by Shantidev Chakma, chief of Rangamati district. Shantidev mentioned that Elen went there to help army to catch the victim and the army mistakenly arrested him. This statement of UPDF proved that UPDF men also involved with this heinous killing. The dead body was brought in Rangamati sadar hospital for post mortem in the evening on 26 June. The dead body was handed over to victim’s elder sister and younger brother afternoon on 27 June. I therefore request you to ensure that adequate investigations are carried out to ensure that the perpetrators are punished and that the victims receive necessary legal assistance and compensation for the damages caused. In particular, the government of Bangladesh should: In particular, the government of Bangladesh should:  Form an independent commission headed by a High Court Judge with a view to enquire into the matter to ascertain the cause of death of Tarun Kusum Chakma as well as publish it asap’  Ensure exemplary punishment of the perpetrators who were directly and indirectly involved in this gross violation of human rights;  Provide adequate financial compensation to the victim and victim’s family as well as guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of victim and victim’s family;  To withdraw all temporary camps of army, Ansar, APBN and VDPs including de facto military rule ‘Operation Uttoron’ as per CHT Accord soon and implement the CHT Accord in letter and spirit;  Ensure the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms throughout the country in accordance with national laws and international human rights standards;  Provide human rights education and training to the Police Inspectors and policemen who run police stations;  Remove reservation from the Art.14 of Convention Against Torture, accepting victims right to compensation; I trust that you will take immediate action on this serious matter. Yours sincerely, ------------------ PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO: Ms. Sheikh Hasina Honourable Prime Minister Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh Prime Minister’s Office, Tejgaon, Dhaka BANGLADESH Fax : +880 2 8113243 / 3244 / 1015 / 1490 Email: Info@pmo.gov.bd, 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, Tel: +880 2 956 2792 Dr. Dipu Moni Honorable Minister Foreign Ministry Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh Dhaka, BANGLADESH Fax: +880 2 9558566, Tel: 956-2852 Ms. Sahara Khatun Honorable Minister Ministry Home Affairs Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh Bangladesh Secretariat, Dhaka BANGLADESH Fax: +88-02-7160405, 88-02-7164788 (O), Tel:+88-02-7169069 (O) Mr. Dipankar Talukdar MP Honorable State Minister CHT Affairs Ministry Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh Bangladesh Secretariat, Dhaka BANGLADESH Tel: +880-2- 7161774 E-mail: mochtadh@bttb.net Mr. Jyotirindra Bodhipriya Larma Chairman CHT Regional Council Rangamati, Chittagong Hill Tracts BANGLADESH Tel: +88-0351-63381;Fax: 0351-63278 E-mail: chtrc@yahoo.com Mr. Promod Mankin, MP Chairman Parliamentary Standing Committee on CHT Affairs Ministry Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban, Dhaka BANGLADESH Justice (Rtd) Amirul Kabir Chowdhury Chairman Bangladesh National Human Rights Commission House # 6/3, Block # D, Lalmatia, Dhaka BANGLADESH Tel: +88 02 9137724 General Md Abdul Mubeen Chief of Army Staff Bangladesh Army Army Headquarters Dhaka Cantonment, Dhaka BANGLADESH Fax: +880 2 875 4455, Tel: +880 2 987 0011 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, Tel: +880 2 956 2054 / 717 6451 / 717 6677 E-mail: ig@police.gov.bd Thank You Urgent Appeal Programme Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) 27, Bijoy Nagar, B-17, Dhaka-1000, Bangladesh Cell: +88 017 20308080, Phone: +88 02 9349851 Email:saikotbihr@gmail.com; bihr@bangla.net www.bihr-bihr.blogspot.com

Friday, June 26, 2009

NEWS: BIHR along with BRCT Celebrate the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) along with Bangladesh Rehabilitation Centre for Trauma Victims (BRCT), Human Rights Development Centre-HRDC in cooperation with European commission celebrate the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture by organize a view exchange meeting on “Together against Torture & Organized Violence on Indigenous / Tribal People” from 12.00pm -2.00 pm on June 26, 2009 at Reporters Unity Conference Room, Sagun Bagicha, Dhaka. It also organized a human chain before the High Court of the Supreme Court at 10.30 am and signature campaign as the part of difference programme on the occasion of observance of United Nation International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. Sanjeeb Drong, General Secretary of Bangladesh Indigenous People Forum presents the event as chief guest. Noren Mormu a tortured indigenous people from Nagaon, Norther part of Bangladesh describes the brutality on him by local influential people. SC Albert Soren, Convener of Adibasi Rokhkha Kori, Adv. Rabindra Ghosh, president of Minority Watch also delivers their speech. Dr. Akramul Haque delivers welcome speech on behalf of Mahfuza Akram Chowdhury, Executive director of BRCT. Presiding over by Dr. A K Khalilur Rahman, president of BRCT the view Exchnage meeting has been moderated by Adv. Shahanur Islam Saikot, Programme Manager-Legal & Human Rights of BRCT/BIHR

Thursday, June 25, 2009

URGENT APPEAL: BANGLADESH: Ensure the protection of human rights defender: Shahanur Islam Saikot.

25 June 2009 The Hague URGENT APPEAL: [UPDATE] BANGLADESH: Ensure the protection of human rights defender: Shahanur Islam Saikot. [UA-BA-2009-06-26] ------------------------------------------------------ ISSUES: Threats, death threats to human rights defenders; impunity ------------------------------------------------------ BANGLADESH: Ensure the protection of human rights defender: Shahanur Islam Saikot. Dear Friends, Global Human Rights Defence (GHRD) has received updated information regarding the continuous serious threats to Shahanur Islam, a human rights defender and lawyer in Bangladesh. The latest incident of intimidation occurred on 15-16 June 2009. Mr. Islam received a threatening phone call thrice within an hour, on 15 June; and at 12:00am on 16 June respectively. The caller used foul language, which carried the message of sexual harassment towards Mr. Islam’s female members of his family. He also threatened Mr. Islam that he could ‘attack him at any time’. Despite Mr. Islam’s efforts, there has still been no action taken by the police authorities. Also, the concerned police stations are trying to discourage him to file charges. GHRD urges for an immediate intervention to ensure his safety and integrity of person. The continuous threats must be investigated credibly and the alleged perpetrators must be brought to justice in accordance with the law. Read previous appeals here: http://www.ghrd.org/pagina.asp?ID=3489 http://www.ghrd.org/Pagina.asp?ID=3420 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. CASE DETAILS: In his daily work Shahanur Islam conducts fact-finding missions and investigations on human rights violations perpetrated by the armed forces in Bangladesh, also informs authorities and issues international appeals. As a result, he continuously receives intimidation from the local authorities, including threats to his life. The threats have escalated over the last few months in particular in relation to an investigation and filing of charges of torture and murder against 16 accused, including 7 member of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAP)-08 in Madaripur zone. Shahanur Islam fears the law enforcement agencies and fears the risk that he may become implicated in a false case, or even arrested and tortured. The concerned police stations are trying to discourage him to file charges. The latest incident of intimidation occurred on 15-16 June 2009. Mr. Islam received a phone call from number three times within an hour, at 11:57pm and 11:58pm on 15 June; and at 12:00am on 16 June respectively. The caller claimed himself as Mr. Babu from Kumar Para in Rajshahi district. The caller used foul language, and expressed the message of sexual harassment towards the femae members in Mr. Islam’s family. In addition, the caller intimidated Mr. Islam and that that the perpetrator would/could attack him at any time by saying, “be cautious to do your activity and do not try to involve every sector of society, otherwise you will suffer more and more.” And, “I have a total record of your daily activities as where are you go? What do you do, etc? So, it is so easy for me to locate and reach you any time any moment as my desire”. Date & Time of the Incident(s): 16 June, 2009 at 12.00am and 12.08 am, phone call residence, Dhaka 15 June, 2009 at 11.57 and 11.58 p.m phone call residence, Dhaka 25 May, 2009, around 11am outside CJMC Court, Shariyatpur 13 April, 2009, outside CMM Court, Dhaka 14 April, 2009, Phone call (mobile) 18 March, 2009 11.15am, phone call to BIHR desk, Dhaka 19 March, 2009, phone call 01 March, 2009 at 9.52am, phone call 28 February, 2009 at 11.28am, phone call to BIHR desk, Dhaka 29 August 2008 10.17pm, phone call to BIHR desk, Dhaka Alleged Perpetrators : - Mr Babu, Kumar Para, Rajashani - Mr. Anis, Member of the Rapid Action Battalion in Madaripur, and other unidentified group of around 7 members of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB). - Officials of Directorate General Forces of Intelligence (DGFI), Owali Ullah/ Owalur Rahman. BACK GROUND HISTORY: Shahanur Islam has received several threats on different occasions recently. In particular in relation to two major murder and torture cases filed against members of RAB, including a Major of Army. For more information regarding previous threats, please follow this link for the full detailed appeal: http://www.ghrd.org/pagina.asp?ID=3489 http://www.ghrd.org/Pagina.asp?ID=3420 SUGGESTED ACTION: GHRD is extremely concerned about the safety and integrity of Mr Islam, a renowned human rights defender. The threats against Mr Islam are not an isolated instance, and threats and intimidation against human rights defenders and journalists are common and widespread in Bangladesh. GHRD has received several recent cases of similar intimidations from our observers in the field. We therefore strongly urges the international authorities to remind the Government of Bangladesh of its international obligations to promote, prevent and respect the fulfillment of human rights, which include the obligation to investigate such cases, to bring the perpetrators to justice, to make serious efforts to address the high level of impunity for human rights violations committed by the armed and law enforcement agencies in the country. Please write letters to the relevant authorities to ensure the security of Mr. Islam as well as demand investigations into this alleged incident, and insist that it is ensured that there is to be a credible investigation as well as punishment of the alleged perpetrators in accordance with the law. Considering this is not an isolated event, but rather the safety of human rights defenders in Bangladesh is of major concern, GHRD strongly urges the government to use its powers to ensure the protection of human rights defenders and journalists, to respect the rule of law, end impunity and the arbitrary arrests, torture and killings that constituted the repressive policy of the military caretaker government under two years of emergency rule. GHRD has already submitted this case to the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders. SAMPLE LETTER BANGLADESH: Ensure the protection of human rights defender: Shahanur Islam Saikot. Dear -------------------, I am told that Adv. Islam 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. In his daily work Shahanur Islam conducts fact finding missions and investigations on human rights violations perpetrated by the armed forces in Bangladesh, as well as informs authorities and issues international appeals. As a result of his investigations, he continuously receives intimidation, including threats to his life. The threats have escalated over the last few months in particular in relation to an investigation and filing of charges of torture and murder against 16 accused, including 7 member of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAP)-08 in Madaripur zone. Shahanur Islam fears the enforcing agencies and the risk that he may become implicated in a false case, or even arrest and torture. The concerned police stations are trying to discourage him to file charges. The latest incident of intimidation occurred on 15-16 June, 2009. Mr. Islam received a phone call from number 01713702555 and 01715122888 thrice within an hour, at 11:57pm and 11:58pm on 15 June; and at 12:00am on 16 June respectively. The caller claimed himself Mr. Babu from Kumar Para in Rajshahi district. The caller used foul language which carried the message of sexual harassment towards Mr. Islam’s female members of his family. In addition, the caller intimidated Mr. Islam that he could attack him at any time by saying, “be cautious to do your activity and do not try to involve every sector of society, otherwise you will suffer more and more.” And, “I have total record of your daily activities as where are you go? What do you do, etc? So, it is so easy for me to locate and reach you any time any moment as my desire”. Shahanur Islam has received several threats on different occasions recently. In particular in relation to two major murder and torture cases filed against members of RAB, including a Major of Army. For more information regarding previous threats, please follow this link for the full detailed appeal: http://www.ghrd.org/Pagina.asp?ID=3420 I worry that the death threats he 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 Shahanur as well as for other human rights activists. Particularly, in order to deter further harassment to Adv. Islam, the police should probe the owner(s) of the cell phone numbers 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. 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 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

URGENT APPEAL: Communication with United Nation by GHRD Regarding to Intimidation of Mr. Shahanur

Case number: 008-GHRD-HRCFBD-009-14-islam

Country: Bangladesh

Last name: Islam

First name: Shahanur

Type of Violation: Violation to personal integrity.

Act(s): Threats, death threats to human rights defender.

Submitted to: United Nations Special Procedures Division – Human Rights Defenders

Date of Submission to the UNSP: 1st version, 02.06.2009

Updated version: 25.06.2009

GHRD Contact: Jenny Lundström

1. Identity of the victim:

Name: Shahanur Islam Saikot

Position: Secretary General and Executive Director of the Bangladesh Centre for Human Rights and Development, Coordinator of Centre for Human Rights Fact Finding & Research, Programme Officer of Legal and Human Rights Affairs at the Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights and Bangladesh Rehabilitation Centre for Trauma Victims, as well as a member of the Bangladesh Bar Council and Bar Association in Dhaka District.

Citizenship: Bangladeshi

Work address: Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights,

27 Bijoy Nagar

Dhaka-1000

Bangladesh

2. Date and place of event(s): (The most recent on the top.)

16 June, 2009 at 12.00am and 12.08 am, phone call residence, Dhaka

15 June, 2009 at 11.57 and 11.58 p.m phone call residence, Dhaka

25 May, 2009, around 11am outside CJM Court, Shariyatpur

13 April, 2009, outside CMM Court, Dhaka

14 April, 2009, Phone call (mobile)

18 March, 2009 11.15am, phone call to BIHR desk, Dhaka

19 March, 2009, phone call

01 March, 2009 at 9.52am, phone call

28 February, 2009 at 11.28am, phone call to BIHR desk, Dhaka

29 August 2008 10.17pm, phone call to BIHR desk, Dhaka

3. Alleged perpetrator(s):

Mr Babu, Kumar Para, Rajashani

Mr. Anis, Member of the Rapid Action Battalion in Madaripur, and other unidentified group of around 7 members of the Rapid Action Battalion.

Officials of Directorate General Forces of Intelligence (DGFI), Owali Ullah/ Owalur Rahman.

4. Case Documents:

Document: Date:

Original report from BIHR 2009-06-22

Urgent appeal ACPP 2009-06-23

Relevant links/news:

http://www.prothom-alo.com/mcat.news.details.php?nid=MTU3MzY0&mid=NQ==, http://jugantor.com/enews/issue/2009/05/26/news0339.php, http://www.jaijaidin.com/details.php?nid=132603 http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=84105, http://www.karatoa.net/detailsnews.php?headlineID=6997&pageTitle=HeadlineDetails&editionID=287&ref=index.php, http://www.amadershomoy.com/content/2009/04/14/news0352.htm, http://www.theindependent-bd.com/details.php?nid=122265, http://www.bdnews24.com/details.php?id=81372&cid=2&aoth=1 http://www.omct.org/index.php/pdf/ESCR/pdf/OMCT_Europe/2008/public_html/demo/index.php?id=&lang=eng&actualPageNumber=1&articleSet=Appeal&articleId=8446&PHPSESSID=2d76c0b15684004c53f09f4aae0ada39

http://www.ghrd.org/Pagina.asp?ID=3420

5. Case Summary

In his daily work Shahanur Islam conducts fact finding missions and investigations on human rights violations perpetrated by the armed forces in Bangladesh, as well as informs authorities and issues international appeals. As a result of his investigations, he continuously receives intimidation, including threats to his life. The threats have escalated over the last few months in particular in relation to an investigation and filing of charges of torture and murder against 16 accused, including 7 member of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAP)-08 in Madaripur zone. Shahanur Islam fears the enforcing agencies and the risk that he may become implicated in a false case, or even arrest and torture. The concerned police stations are trying to discourage him to file charges.

The latest incident of intimidation occurred on 15-16 June, 2009. Mr. Islam received a phone call from number 01713702555 and 01715122888 thrice within an hour, at 11:57pm and 11:58pm on 15 June; and at 12:00am on 16 June respectively. The caller claimed himself Mr. Babu from Kumar Para in Rajshahi district. The caller used foul language which carried the message of sexual harassment towards Mr. Islam’s female members of his family. In addition, the caller intimidated Mr. Islam that he could attack him at any time by saying, “be cautious to do your activity and do not try to involve every sector of society, otherwise you will suffer more and more.” And, “I have total record of your daily activities as where are you go? What do you do, etc? So, it is so easy for me to locate and reach you any time any moment as my desire”.

6. Background

Shahanur Islam has received several threats on different occasions recently. In particular in relation to two major murder and torture cases filed against members of RAB, including a Major of Army

.

May, 2009 – Threats by RAB members.

On the evening of the 24th of May 2009, Shahanur Islam went to Shariyatpur district to file a case against 16 persons accused, including 7 members of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB)-08 of Madaripur Zone, on charge of murder by torturing during the state of emergency under section 302, 109, 34 and 506 of Penal Code with the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court in Shariyapur district when some of the law-enforcing agencies men wearing civil dress were following him continuously.

On the 25th of May of 2009, at around at 11.00 a.m, when Mr. Islam was to submit the complaint to the Court, one of the accused, the Rapid Action Battalion member Mr. Anis clothed in civil dress, came before the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court and tried to pursue Mr. Islam to withdraw the complaint through intimidation and pressure. The Chief Judicial Magistrate of Shariyatpur took the case as acknowledged and ordered the Officer in Charge of Palang Police station to file the allegation as First Information Report, being the first civil case brought against the Rapid Action Battalion.

At 1.30 p.m. of the same day when Mr. Islam came out from the court building, Mr. Anis again intimidated him. He repeatedly threatened Mr. Islam to withdraw the case unless he paid more for it, while stating that no-one can save him from facing an upcoming suffering if Mr. Islam tried to go ahead in regard to the case.

At around 6.00 p.m. of the same day, Mr. Anis along with other 7 or 8 RAB members from RAB-8, Matheripur, wearing civil clothing, asked some of the local people about the whereabouts of Mr. Islam. They also went to the Reporters Unit Office of Shariyatpur District and looked for him while asking some of the journalists questions about Mr. Islam.

On May 26th of 2009, at around 11 a.m. the RAB team led by Mr. Anis entered the Court grounds and Reporters Unity Office looking for Mr. Islam and also asked the local people and journalists to inform about him.

Mr. Shahanur Islam fears that at any time the RAB men can arrest him and torture him.

Continuous threats increase these fears, and concerns of impunity of his case and those that he represents arise.

April 2009 – Threats by DGFI officers.

On April 13, 2009 Shahanur Islam was intimidated by a field officer (a sub inspector level official) of Directorate General Forces of Intelligence (DGFI), named Owali Ullah, while he was waiting to speak with Media after filing a petition case on charging attempt to murder by torturing with the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Court (CMM) Dhaka, against three men including a Major of Army named Sarwar of 17, East Bengle Regiment, Dhaka.

After filing the case, an officer of law enforcing agencies in civil clothes followed him to the office room of Court Reporters Unity, Judge Court, Dhaka. He asked him about the case that was filed against the army major, and introduced himself as Mr. Owalur Rahman, a Field Officer (Sub Inspector Level Official) of Directorate General Forces of Intelligence (DGFI).

During the interrogation, he asked “why did he move the case on behalf of the complainant? How he was connected with the case? What is the relation between the complainant and Mr. Islam? What is the interest of Mr. Islam in this case? How was he being confirmed about the identity of the alleged army officer? Whether Mr.Islam has legal authority to file the case against the army officer? How long he was connected with the organization? Who is the chief of the organization etc?

The DGFI personnel warned him that he would intervene in the matter, if he found the incident to be false; he would take steps against both the complainant and Mr. Islam. He also intimidated Mr. Islam not to give any statement to the media or others regarding the case against the Army Major. The news of the case was covered by most of the electronic and print media in Bangladesh including BBC world, Channel-I, Digonto TV, the Daily Star, New Nation, New Age, Independent, Jugantor, Jono Kontho, and Korotoa with the statement of Mr. Islam on April 13 and 14 of 2009.

On April 14, 2009, Mr Islam received a call from no 01814653119 from someone who introduced himself as Mr. Owali Ullah, Field officer of DGFI. He claimed that he had met with Mr. Islam the day before. Then he shouted and started questioning why he did not followed his advice regarding the statement being given to the media? He also ordered Mr. Islam to find the alleged Major Sarwar, otherwise he would ‘face more suffering’. He also used rough language at that time.

February - March, 2009 Threats by ‘Pintu’ and ‘Billu’

On February 28th, and March 01, 2009 at 11.28 a.m., 11.32 a.m and 9.52am respectively, while Shahanur Islam Saikot was working at his desk at the Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights, (BIHR) he received a phone call from a ‘Pintu’ who verbally abused him and threatened to kill him with a gun shot to the head. Mr. Islam was advised to ‘mentally prepare for his impending death.’

On March 18, 2009 around at 11.15 a.m. when Shahanur Islam Saikot was working at Bangladesh Institution Human Rights he received a call from nr 01937690054. The caller identified himself as Billu and starting to verbally abuse Mr Islam. 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 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 ‘mentally prepare for his death’.

Mr. Islam immediately filed a General Diary at the Peltan Police Station of DMP (Paltan Police Station G. D. No-1409; Dated: 19.03.2009). and General Diary at the Peltan Police Station of DMP (No-2281.

August, 2008 - threats by unidentified caller

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, and claimed to be a ‘higher authority of law enforcing agencies’. The caller stated that he knows who Mr. Islam is, and that he would ‘punish him at the earliest possible time’. 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).

7. ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:

The threats against Mr Islam are not an isolated instance, but rather threats and intimidation against human rights defenders and journalists are common and widespread in Bangladesh. GHRD has received several recent cases of similar intimidations from our observers in the field.

We therefore strongly urges the international authorities to remind the government of Bangladesh of its international obligations to promote, prevent and respect the fulfilment of human rights, which include the obligation to investigate such cases, to bring the perpetrators to justice, to make serious efforts to address the high level of impunity for human rights violations committed by the armed and law enforcing agencies in the country.

End of communication as of: 25.06.2009

Submitted to: United Nations Special Procedures Division – Human Rights Defenders 25.06.2009