Thursday, June 18, 2009

FACT FINDING REPORT:Human Rights Defender & Lawyer Mr. Shahanur Islam Once Again Received Threat

Date: June 18, 2009
Fact Finding Case: BIHR-HRD-05-09

Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights has been received a fact finding report conducted by the fact finding team of BIHR from June 16 to 17, 2009 regarding to intimidation of Mr. Shahanur Islam Saikot, Programme Manager of Legal and Human Rights Affairs at the Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) and Bangladesh Rehabilitation Centre for Trauma Victims (BRCT) by cell phone. According to the information received, there was no action taken by the police authorities.

BIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION:

Name of the Victim :Mr. Shahanur Islam Saikot, Programme Manager of Legal and Human Rights Affairs at the Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) and Bangladesh Rehabilitation Centre for Trauma Victims (BRCT.

During the time of his duties, he moved many cases against the perpetrators as a lawyer and some of them have been punished. He also conducted many investigations and fact-finding missions on human rights violations as well as issued local and international urgent appeals requesting attention to concerned authorities.

Name of the Perpetrators : Mr. Babu, Kumar Para, Rajshahai

Date of Incident : June 15, 2009 around at 11.57 PM and 11.58PM

June16, 2009 around at 12.00 AM and 12.08 AM

FACT DETAILS:

On 15 June 2009, around at 11.57 P.M, when Mr. Shahanur Islam was waiting to sleep at his resident 27/11/2, Topkhana Road Segun Bagicha, he received a phone call from 01713702555 and asked the caller to inform about his identity. The caller acquainted with him as Babu from Kumar Para under Rajshahi district and threatened him by stating “why are you trying to do more, it will compel you to pay more” and cut off the call. Then at around11.58 P.M, he again called by the same cell phone and threatened him by stating “I am coming soon to punish you properly as you can not run more”and cut off the cell. Later, on 16 June early in the morning at around 12.00 am he again call Mr. Islam by the same cell phone and threatened by sating “when the time will come on favor of him he will show to me how much paddy how much rice” and again cut off the cell without giving no chance to ask him anything.

Thereafter, around at 12.08 A.M, Mr. Babu further called Mr. Islam by another cell Phone number 01715122888 and again acquainted with him as Babu from Kumar Para under Rajshahi district and starting to use filthy language by stating “mother fucker, i will fuck you along with your mother and sister”. When Mr. Islam asked him about the reason of this kind of misbehavior, he threatened him to put bamboo in to his anus stating “son of bitc, I will put bamboo in to your anus.” He again said, “You have been keeping me psychological pressure for last three months”. When Mr. Islam asked how he has been keeping him psychological pressure where he did not know him? He said, “I know you better and when i will come to you to teach properly, then you will know how you have been keeping me psychologically pressure for last three months, otherwise it is not possible to understand you.” He further said, “be cautious to do your activity and do not try to involve every sector of society, otherwise you will suffer more and more.” He also threatened him by stating, “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”.

Mr. Islam is so frighten about receiving continuously this kind of phone call for last few months/years. He am apprehending due to his activities against violation of human rights especially tortured and organized violence perpetrated by law enforcing agencies and powerful majority group may implicated him with false and concocted cases, arrest and torture brutally. Even, they can kill him by the name of cross fire or encounter or kill him or kidnap him by third party. Rather, now the concerned police stations try to discourage him to file general diary

BACKGROUND:

Mr. Shahanur Islam Saikot received threats in different occasions previously. On 24 May 2009 at evening Mr. Shahanur Islam went to Shariyatpur district to file a case against 16 accuseds including 7 members of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB)-08, Madaripur Zone, charging on murder by torturing during the time of emergency under section 302, 109, 34 and 506 of Penal Code with the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court in Shariyapur district by one Ret’d Army men Mr. Abdur Rahman Khan, father of the dead person (victim) Mr. Afjal Hossin with the help of Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR), under its legal and humanitarian activities to promote and protect human rights with the vision of making a torture and extra judicial execution free Bangladesh. One of the accused Mr. Quayser Ahmed is an acting Assistant Superintend of Police (ASP) level official of RAB. When Mr. was staying at Shariyatpur town, some of the law enforcing agencies men clothing civil dress was following him continuously.

On 25 May 2009, around at 11.00 am, submitting the complaint with the court, when Mr. Islam was waiting to meet with pressmen as well as allegation accepting hearing against the RAB, one of the accused RAB member Mr. Anis clothing civil dress came before the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court ground, Shariyatpur and tried to influence Mr. Islam to withdraw the complaint and also intimidated and pressurized him.

After completing the hearing the Chief Judicial Magistrate of Shariyatpur took the case as cognizance and ordered the Officer in Charge (OC) of Palang Police station to file the allegation as First Information report (FIR) ( you are requested to visit the links to know about the case: 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 )

[It is the historical event in Bangladesh because it is the first case in Bangladesh that has been filed against the RAB by a civil person on charging murdered by torture and ordered to the OC of Concerned police station to file the allegation against RAB as FIR (EJAHAR) is also first in Bangladesh] , around at 1.30 pm on the day when Mr. Islam came out from the court building, Mr. Anis, member of RAB tried to create obstacle on the way of Islam and again intimidated him. He gave threats to Mr. Islam to withdraw the case otherwise he should pay more for it and no one can safe him from facing more suffering if Mr. Islam tried to go ahead regarding this case. Then Mr. Anis went back.

Around at 6.00 pm Mr. Anis along with other 7 to 8 RAB personnel from RAB-8, Matheripur, clothing civil dress by a pickup van came to the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court ground and looked for Mr. Islam. They asked some of the local people about the staying location of Mr. Islam. They also went to the Reporters Unity office of Shariyatpur district and looked for Mr. Islam and also asked some of the journalist about Mr. Islam. On May 26, 2009, around at 11. A.m. the RAB team led by Mr. Anis again went the Court ground and Reporters Unity Office look for Mr. Islam as well as asked the local people and journalist to inform about him. They also tried to influence the local people and journalist to inform about Mr. Islam.

Mr. Shahanur Islam is apprehending that any time the RAB Men can arrest him and implicated with false and concocted allegation as well as torture him brutally. He also apprehending that they can kidnap him by themselves or third party. Here specially mentioned that one of the accused person Quaiyum Ahmed (Accused number -01), is now discharging his duty at Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) as an Assistance Police commissioner. You are requested to visit the following links to know more about case previous fact finding report: http://bihr-bihr.blogspot.com/2009/05/fachuman-rights-defender-lawyer-mr.html

On April 13, 2009 Mr. Shahanur Islam was intimidated by a filed officer of (Sub Inspector Level Official) of Directorate General Forces of Intelligence (DGFI), named Owali Ullah, while he was waiting for speaking with Media men 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 by the prominent manpower businessman Md. Samsuddin Ahmed with the help of Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) and the case was moved before the court by Adv. Shahanur Islam, Programme Manager-Legal & Human Rights of BIHR

After filing the case when Mr. Shahanur Islam came out from the CMM court, an officer of law enforcing agencies with plain cloth followed him until Mr. Islam was reached in front the office room of Court Reporters Unity, Judge Court, Dhaka, where the plain clothing unknown person asked him about the case that was filed against the Army Major. When Mr. Islam asked him to disclose his identity, he introduced himself as Mr. Owalur Rahman, a Field Officer (Sub Inspector Level Official) of Directorate General Forces of Intelligence (DGFI). Then DGFI officer interrogated him regarding the case. During interrogation, he asked Mr. Islam “why he moved the case on behalf the complainant? How he was connected with the case? What is the relation between the complainant and Mr. Islam? What is the interested of Mr. Islam in this case? How was he being confirmed about the identity of 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? Mr. Islam replied every query in simply language with cordially. But the DGFI personnel alarmed him that he would intervene the matter, if he found the incident is false, he would take step against both of the complainant and Mr. Islam. He also collected a copy of complaint and intimidated Mr. Islam not to give any statement to the media or others regarding the case due to case was filed against the Army Major.

The news of filing case against three men including an Army Major by the businessman in Dhaka was covered with significant 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, Korotoa with the statement of Mr. Islam on April 13 and 14 of 2009.Please visit the following links to know about the case:

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

On April 14, 2009, an unknown phone call has come to Mr. Islam’s cell phone Number 01720308080 from Cell Phone Number 01814653119. Receiving the call while Mr. Islam asked his identity, the caller introduced him as Mr. Owali Ullah, Field officer of DGFI and also told that he was met with Mr. Islam following day. Then he told with shouting to Mr. Islam that why he did not follow his prohibition regarding to give statement to the media? He again told with angry that he did not reach Major Sarwar at 17, East Bengle Regiment and ordered Mr. Islam to find out the alleged Major Sarwar, otherwise he would face more suffering. He also used rough language at that time Please visit the following links to know more about the case:

http://www.ghrd.org/pagina.asp?ID=3489, http://bihr-bihr.blogspot.com/2009/04/fact-finding-report-prominent-human.html

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. 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-report-prominent-human.html

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. 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). Please visit the following links to know more about the case:

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, 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:

Ø take all necessary measures to guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Shahanur Islam;

Ø 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;

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

Ø ccomply 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”;

Ø 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

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