Her Excellency Sheikh Hasina,

Hon. Prime Minister

Prime Minister’s Office

Old Sangsad Bhban

Tejgaon, Dhaka-1215

The People’s Republic of Bangladesh

05/07/2010

Madam,

SAHR appeals for an Independent Judicial Enquiry instead of Police Enquiry into recent cases of custodial death and disappearance

South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR) would like to urge the Government to take serious note of the reported cases of custodial deaths and disappearances reported in national newspapers, and particularly in Daily Star.

Reports of three deaths of people in police custody only within a span of 5 days are unacceptable. Although the police is denying the custodial deaths of Mizanur Rahman, Babul Kazi and Mujibur Hossain, The Daily Star investigation has found that the fact is quite the opposite to that of the police version of the incidents. Police picked up businessman Mizanur Rahman from his Badda house early Tuesday while Mujibur Hossain from Melartek Ghat in Darussalam early Thursday, and Babul kazi from Modhubagh, Moghbazar on Monday the investigation revealed.

Mizanur was found bullet-hit and was rushed to Dhaka Medical College Hospital where Mizanur succumbed to his injuries. Meanwhile, Darussalam police denied Mujibur’s arrest and his death in custody. His body was recovered floating on the Turag Friday morning, said Mujibur’s family members. Morgue sources said Mujibur died drowning but his body bore several marks of injury. Abdul Malek, officer-in-charge of Darussalam Police Station, however, identified Mujibur as a local drug peddler and said that Mujibur’s rivals killed him over a feud. According to the brother of the deceased, the policemen had allegedly demanded money from him for his release but when he failed to give it he was beaten to death.

In case of Babul Kazi, a CNG driver cum small businessman who was arrested  Monday and the police picked him in the  nearer T & T  Colony where tortured him and then sent to Dhaka Medical College where the doctor announced him as death as the victim’s family opined. The police, however, denied allegations of beating the person to death and rather told that it was an accident but his body bore several marks of injury.

The family members have alleged that the police took Mizan, Muzibur and Babul Kazi into their custody and killed him due to his failure to pay the police’s demand for bribe.

The Police has set up an enquiry committee, which SAHR regrets will not be adequate for the purpose of clearing the members of the police involved, since this will be an interdepartmental hearing and may lead to doubts as to its neutrality. SAHR would urge that an independent Judicial Investigation be carried out into the violation of the right to life, which is guaranteed in the Constitution, and to which Bangladesh is further committed through ratification of international treaties such as the ICPCR. Impunity to law enforcement agencies for custodial and extra judicial deaths has been responsible for deterioration in the rule of law, protection of human rights which are essential conditions for democratic governance.  We would therefore urge you to take steps to ensure that RAB, police and other security forces comply with constitutional guarantees to safeguard the lives of citizens, that exemplary punishment is given in cases of violations and that proper guidelines are provided to law enforcement forces to maintain legal rights of persons in custody.

On behalf of South Asians for Human Rights,

Dr. Hameeda Hossain,

Co-Chair,

South Asians for Human Rights

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