South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR) vehemently condemns the arbitrary arrest of Mr. Adilur Rahman Khan, a Senior Lawyer of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh and a former Deputy Attorney General who currently holds office as Secretary of Odhikar, a Bangladeshi Human Rights Organization.
We are concerned that the Chief Metropolitan Court of Bangladesh initially allowed a five-day remand to interrogate Mr. A. R Khan, which was later stayed by the High Court. As there is evidence of torture linked to police remand in South Asia, we believe that the trial courts of Bangladesh should be very careful in allowing the remand of persons arrested without any specific case, as with regards to Mr. A. R. Khan.
It was reported that about 10 plain-clothes officers from the Detective Branch of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police took Mr. A. R Khan into custody on the 10th of August 2013 from outside his residence in Dhaka. The men carried no arrest warrant with them at the time of forcible removal and SAHR is of the opinion that the manner in which Mr. A. R Khan was arrested and detained is wholly unconstitutional and in violation of his fundamental rights.
We at SAHR note that the arrest of a high profile activist such as Mr. A. R Khan without any specific case and merely on suspicion indicates the increasingly intimidatory stance of the Bangladeshi Government to any person or organization critical of its policies and vocal of its human rights violations. SAHR believes that the arbitrary arrest of Mr. A. R Khan in the run- up to elections is a strong warning to others seeking to expose gaping holes in the freedoms of expression and opinion and human rights in Bangladesh.
Mr. Adilur Rahman Khan is a longstanding SAHR member and a respected Human Rights Defender in Bangladesh. We at SAHR strongly appeal to the Government of Bangladesh and other respective authorities to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. A. R. Khan during this time, to expedite a fair and just judicial process for his immediate release, and to end all harassment to fellow human rights defenders.
On behalf of South Asians for Human Rights,
Hina Jilani – Chairperson
Dr. Nimalka Fernando – Co-Chairperson