Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Released ‘Secret Detainees’ in Bangladesh

A cartoon on secret detentions in Bangladesh. Credit: credit Mehedi Haque/The New Age
A cartoon on secret detentions in Bangladesh. Credit: Mehedi Haque/The New Age






















The Bangladesh government has blocked The Wire.in - and so am publishing this recent article to make it available to those in Bangladesh (until of course this website is blocked!)
- read the article that caused the blocking
- read about the government's blocking of The Wire
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We Shouldn’t Expect Released ‘Secret Detainees’ in Bangladesh to Talk About What Happened


Representative image of Bangladesh police. Credit: Reuters/Adnan Abidi
Representative image of Bangladesh police. Credit: Reuters/Adnan Abidi
Last week, academic Mubashar Hasan, allegedly held in secret detention by Bangladesh’s military intelligence agency for 44 days, was released blindfolded onto the streets of Dhaka. This followed the release a day earlier of journalist Utpal Das, also believed to have been in secret custody for over two months. In the same week, another disappeared man, Aminur Rahman, was also ‘released’, again apparently from secret detention, though this time he was brought to court and ordered back into state custody after police accused him of involvement in a bomb attack.

Bangladesh Government Blocks The Wire

Following this article, the Bangladesh government blocked the Indian news website The Wire.
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Bangladesh Government Blocks The Wire


The move came after The Wire published an article on the role of Bangladesh’s military intelligence agency in the illegal pick-up and detention of academic Mubashar Hasan.

Academic Mubashar Hasan. Credit: Twitter
Academic Mubashar Hasan. Credit: Twitter
The Bangladesh government has ordered the blocking of internet access to The Wire a day after it published an article on the role of the country’s military intelligence agency in the illegal pick-up and secret detention of the university academic Mubashar Hasan.
On Thursday, the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) e-mailed all international internet gateway (IIG) operators ordering them to “block the domain … https://thewire.in/.”
The instruction stated that this requirement was “urgent” and that “the commission will take necessary steps  against those IIGs who will not comply with the instructions of BTRC.” (sic)
It asked the IIGs to “Please confirm execution.”
The email was written by Touseef Shahriar, the senior assistant director at the Systems & Services Division of BTRC.
Shahriar confirmed to The Wire that he had sent the instruction following a request by one of Bangladesh’s law enforcement agencies but refused to provide any further details or explain why the website needed to be blocked.
“The requests come from law enforcing agencies. When the requests come then we take steps to block,” he said.
The e-mail suggests that BTRC had in the past sent a previous instruction to the IIGs to block The Wire website, but that some had failed to comply. The date of BTRC’s first instruction is not known. As of Saturday, many readers in Bangladesh said they were unable to access the site, though some said they were still able to as their internet providers had not yet blocked access.
The article published on Wednesday would have been embarrassing for the Bangladesh government as it seeks to deny its involvement in the widespread practice of ‘enforced disappearances’ in Bangladesh since the Awami League government came to power despite significant evidence of the involvement of many different law enforcement authorities.
This week’s instruction is not the first time that BTRC has blocked news that exposes the government’s poor human rights record.
In May 2017, BTRC also blocked Swedish Radio’s website after it had published an article about a senior officer, belonging to the paramilitary organisation Rapid Action Battalion, admitting his organisation’s role in extra-judicial killings.
A year earlier, in August 2016, the BTRC also blocked 35 news websites without providing any reasons.
The blocking of the news websites comes at a time when the government is clamping down on critical journalism and dissenting voices, with the police arresting dozens of journalists and ordinary people for publishing commentary on Facebook or in newspapers critical of the government, prime minister or others connected to the ruling Awami League party.

The article blocked by the Bangladesh government

The academic, Mubashar Hasan has now been released, but a month ago, the Bangladesh government blocked the website The Wire, a day after this article was published.
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Bangladesh Academic Mubashar Hasan “Held by Military Intelligence Agency”


The Directorate General of Forces Intelligence allegedly picked up Hasan soon after he attended a meeting at the UN headquarters in Dhaka on November 7. The reason for his detention remains unclear.

Academic Mubashar Hasan. Credit: Twitter
Academic Mubashar Hasan. Credit: Twitter
Bangladesh’s military intelligence agency, the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI), is secretly detaining academic Mubashar Hasan, security and political sources have told The Wire.
According to the sources, the DGFI picked up Hasan, who works as an assistant professor at North South University (NSU) in Dhaka, soon after he attended a meeting at the United Nations headquarters in the city on November 7.
This information, which contradicts pro-government media who have sought to portray Hasan as a ‘militant’ who went into hiding, confirms the fear widely held by his colleagues and friends that he had become another victim of the increasingly widespread practice in Bangladesh of “enforced disappearances”.
Matt Nelson, a reader in politics at SOAS, who had worked with Hasan as part of the Resolve Network, a US-funded initiative researching the drivers of violent terrorism, said last week that his colleagues in Bangladesh were “leaning toward Mubashar being a victim of an enforced disappearance, state led”.
The Bangladesh government denies any involvement in his disappearance. Lieutenant Commander Mesbah who responded to a call to the DGFI Dhaka office said he “did not know anything about this … I have no information on this”.
In the first ten months of 2017, the human rights organisation Odhikar has documented 74 secret detentions, with the whereabouts of many of these men remaining unknown.
Human Rights Watch has confirmed that the bodies of 21 of the over 90 people secretly detained in 2016 were subsequently found dead with at least nine other men remaining missing.
Most people the Bangladeshi authorities illegally and secretly detain are opposition activists, or alleged militants – however, state law enforcement agencies do also at times pick up people who are perceived by the government as causing it difficulty or embarrassment or otherwise useful to it.
Hasan, based in the NSU’s department of political science and sociology, specialises in the ideology of Islamism, religion and democratisation, and has published in some of the world’s leading academic journals. He has also been working as part of the digital Bangladesh ‘A2I’ project, which is based out of the prime minister’s office and financially supported by the United Nations.
Hasan’s sister Tamanna says that the last time their family heard from her brother was at around 4 pm on November 7 when their father phoned him. “Mubashar told him that he had a meeting at the United Nation headquarters, that he would be done within an hour,” she said. ”Since he did not come back, at about 7 pm, we were worried and called him again and we found Mubashar’s phone switched off.”
Initially the family thought that Hasan’s mobile phone battery may have discharged but soon the family got very worried. “My parents are aged and very sick, and so we could not go to police station straightaway. We waited for few of our relatives before lodging a missing person GD at 1:30-2 in the morning at the police station,“ Tamanna added.
However, one senior Awami League leader has confirmed to The Wire that after leaving the UN offices, Hasan “was taken away by DGFI just a few meters outside the IDB building [where the UN is based].”
A security source also independently confirmed that “the political wing of DGFI picked him up” and he’s “held by DGFI.”
Although the Detective Branch of the police and the paramilitary organisation, the Rapid Action Battalion, have in recent years been more closely associated with enforced disappearances, the DGFI also has a long history of involvement in secret detention and torture.
In 2007, Human Rights Watch stated that, “The DGFI maintains at least three unofficial detention centers, known as “black holes.” “Black Hole 1” is located in the DGFI headquarters inside Dhaka cantonment near BNS Haji Moshin naval base. “Black Hole 2” is near Kachukhet, a civilian residential area inside Dhaka cantonment. “Black Hole 3” is maintained in the Uttara residential district near Zia International Airport.”
It also thought that in August last year the DGFI was responsible for picking up and secretly detaining three sons of opposition leaders. Mir Ahmed and Abdullahil Amaan Azmi both remain in their custody over a year after they were originally illegally detained. The third man, Hummam Quader Chowdhury, was released onto the streets of Dhaka in March 2017 after seven months of secret detention.
The reason why the DGFI kidnapped and secretly detained Hasan remains unclear.
One senior Awami League leader told The Wire that the reason for his arrest was the military agency’s belief that Hasan was “running” bdpolitico.com, a website which had recently published controversial and often allegedly false reports about the army.
A report in the pro-government newspaper Ittefaq also claimed that he was the “editor” of this website, which he used to “to share information with the militants” as well as to “spread different kinds of anti-government news.”
However, although between 2013 and 2015, Hasan did own the domain name of this website, domain history records show that he lost access to it in December 2015 and that in July 2017 the domain name was repurchased by someone who has kept his or her identity secret. In addition, the website has continued to function even though the supposed editor has been in DGFI custody since November 7.
Christine Fair, who also was a colleague of Hasan within the Resolve Network, wrote on her Facebook page that, “The government is spreading the story that he has been involved in nefarious activities. The effort to degrade his work, his reputation, and his very person cannot be tolerated.”
These erroneous perceptions of the DGFI may not be the only reason for Hasan’s detention.
Nelson thinks his academic research on Islam and religious extremism may help explain the unwarranted interest from the security services. “His report for Resolve was very measured, but as a quite prominent, liberal commentator, Mubashar may be seen to be creating a bit more of a stir than the government wanted, who wants criticism of religious conservatism to be dialed back,” he said.
“His detention may perhaps be a signal to liberals about needing to tread gently, saying ‘Don’t speak up as this could result in a religious backlash,’” he added.
David Bergman is a journalist who also runs the Bangladesh Politico and Bangladesh War Crimes blogsFollow him on @davidbangladesh.
Tasneem Khalil is an independent Swedish-Bangladeshi journalist and the author of Jallad: Death Squads and State Terror in South Asia (Pluto Press, 2016). Follow him on @Tasneem

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Disappearances since 2016 - the men subsequently killed


Below are the details of 28 people picked up by Bangladesh law enforcement authorities since 2016, secretly detained for different periods of time, and then subsequently killed.

To see the main page on disappearances, and see the list of those who remain missing since 2016, click here.

The information below is based on information from the human rights organisation Odhikar direct interviews with families as well as media news reports.

Out of over 90 reported disappearances in 2016, 21 people were subsequently killed (12 of them being opposition Jamaat-e-Islami activists). The information about these 21 people was first published in the recent HRW report

Out of over 80 reported disappearances in 2017, 7 people were subsequently killed

These figures do not include examples of militants allegedly picked up and allegedly killed - in cases like this. These are allegedly widespread, but are difficult to verify.

If you have any further information on these or other enforced disappearances in Bangladesh, please e-mail Bangladesh Politico

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Mohammad Alam
Picked up on August 22, 2017. Body found on August 23, 2017

Mohammad Alam, joint convener of Amanullahpur Union unit of the BNP youth wing in Noakhali district, was picked up on August 22, 2016 from his house in the early morning by a group of men who identified themselves as from the detective branch of the police. The following day, police claimed that Mohammad Alam was shot dead in a ‘gunfight’ in the early morning on August 23.
http://epaper.prothom-alo.com/view/dhaka/2017-08-25/6

Mohammad Arjullah
Picked up on May 27, 2017. Body found on May 31, 2017

Arjullah was picked up on the evening of May 27, 2017 from a local shop in the district of Chuadanga by men who identified themselves to local people as law enforcement officers. Four days later, on May 31, 2017 his body was found in a field.
Prothom Alo 1 June, 2017

Maidul Islam, 45, Alimuddin, 55
Picked up on May 7, 2017. Bodies found on May 30, 2017

Maidul Islam (alias Rana) and Alimuddin, allegedly both members of left wing militant group, were picked up in a village in Jessore on May 7, 2017 by members of a law enforcement agency. According to the police they were killed in a gunfight on May 30, 2017 with the members of RAB-6 in Jhenaidah.
Prothom Alo 1 June, 2017

Nurul Alam Nuru, 40
Picked up on March 29, 2017. Body found March 30, 2017

Nurul Alam Nurul, a central leader of the student wing of the opposition, BNP, was picked up by 10 people - five in police uniform and others in plainclothes - from his rented home in Chittagong on March 29, 2017. The following day he was found murdered on the banks of the Karnaphuli river, he was shot twice in the head and his hands were tied with rope
http://www.newagebd.net/article/12395/jcd-central-leaders-bullet-hit-body-found

Rafiqul Islam, 42
Picked up on March 24, 2017. Body found on March 28, 2017

Rafiqul Islam, an alleged criminal, was picked up on March 24, 2017 by men who identified themselves as members of the detective branch in Mirpur. His dead body was found near a highway following a gunfight on March 28, 2017
Prothom Alo 30 March 2017

Mohammad Hanif Mridha
Picked up on February 27, 2017. Died on March 17, 2017

On February 27, 2017, Mohammad Hanif Mridha, a businessman, and his friend Sohel Hossain, were picked up in Narayanganj by men who claimed to be members of the Detective Branch of the police as they were getting into a car. On March 17, it was alleged that Mridha had been arrested on suspicion of involvement with a suicide attack at RAB headquarters in Dhaka. He was subsequently admitted to hospital where he died.
The Daily Prothom Alo, 21 March 2017

Redwan Sabbir, Abu Abdullah, and Sohel Rana
Picked up on December 3, 2016. Bodies found on December 5, 2016

Redwan Sabbir, Abu Abdullah, and Sohel Rana, three Awami League youth wing activists, were picked up by a group of about 12 men, some wearing vests inscribed with “RAB,” from a tea stall in Tokia Bazar in Natore, late at night. Their bodies, with bullet wounds, were found two days later in Dinajpur
http://www.thedailystar.net/frontpage/three-jubo-league-men-found-dead-1325821

Safinul Islam, 32
Picked up on 26 September 2016, Body found on October 26, 2016

Safinul Islam (alias Safin), previously convicted in a murder case, was picked up from Dhaka by men identifiable as members of RAB on September 26, 2016. RAB denied the arrest that time, but a month later, claimed that he was killed in a gunfight at Dadrajonti village in Joypurhat
http://www.observerbd.com/details.php?id=40243

Tarique Hassan Shajib, 40
Picked up on 13 September, 2016. Dead body found on October 25, 2017

Tarique Hassan Shajib, member of Jamaat-e-Islami, was picked up on September 13, 2016 just after midnight by men claiming to be police from Al Hera school in Jhenaidah town where the party often held meetings. His body was found on October 25 with that of Zahurul Islam, whose case is described above

Mohammad Zahurul Islam, 42
Picked up on 7 September 2016. Dead body found on October 25, 2016

Mohammad Zahurul Islam, president of the Jhenaidah town unit of Jamaat-e-Islami and a lecturer at Keyarbazar College, was picked up on September 7, 2016 his way home for lunch in the Al Hera area by men claiming to be DB members. A month later, police said he was shot dead on October 25, 2016 at the Jhenaidah town bypass road when they opened fire in self-defense.
http://www.newagebd.net/article/1417/two-killed-in-jhenaidah-gunfight

Idris Ali, 56
Picked up on 4 August 2016, Dead body found on 10 August 10, 2016

Idris Ali, a madrasa teacher and Jamaat-e-Islami leader in Jhenaidah, was picked up on August 4, 2016 by police while returning to his house at night. Eight days later, his body was found on the Harinakundu-Jhenaidah road with marks of torture
http://www.theindependentbd.com/post/55492

Oliullah Mollah, 38
Picked up in 9 July 2016, Dead body found on 10 July, 2016

Oliullah Mollah, vice president of a local brick field workers’ association and general secretary of his local unit of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party in Satkhira, was picked up on July 9, 2016 by police from the Paruli bazaar area. Police later said his body was found on July 10, 2016 in Ganghati village following a gunfight.
http://www.thedailystar.net/backpage/bnp-activist-killed-shootout-1251886

Faruk Hossain, 42
Picked up on 1 July 2016. Dead body found on 2 July 2016

Faruk Hossain, claimed by police to be a member of a gang of robbers, was picked up in Jessore on July 1, 2016 by four men on two motorbikes identifying themselves as police officers. Police later said his body was found following a gunfight on July 2, 2016
http://www.thedailystar.net/country/abducted-man-killed-gunfight-1249405

Saiful Islam, 25
Picked up on July 1, 2016. Dead body found on July 19, 2016

Saiful Islam, an activist of the Jamaat-e-Islami student wing, was picked up by police from his hostel in Jhenaidah along with four other students on July 1, 2016 , and was seen the following day by his family at a police station. Nearly three weeks later, on July 19, 2016, police claimed to have found his body close to Jhenaidah highway following a gunfight with criminals.
http://www.thedailystar.net/backpage/shibir-man-killed-gunfight-1256257

Nurun Nabi, 28, and Nurul Islam Rashed, 27
Picked up on 23 June 2016. Dead bodies found on July 5, 2016

Nurun Nabi and Nurul Islam Rashed, suspected of involvement in the killing of a police officer’s wife, were picked up by police from a house in the Millitarir Pool area in Chittagong on June 23, 2016 where they were staying. Two weeks later, the police stated that their bodies were found on July 5, 2016 following a gunfight at MBW Brick field close to the city
http://www.thedailystar.net/backpage/2-suspects-mitu-murder-case-killed-1251382

Ibnul Islam Parvez
Picked up on June 16, 2016. Dead body found on July 2, 2016

Ibnul Islam Parvez, former president of the Jhenaidah district town unit Jamaat student wing, was picked up from a hostel in Dhaka in June 16, 2016 (along with Anisur Rahman, see above). Two weeks later, on July 2, 2016 the police said that Parvez’s body was found in Aruakandi village following a gunfight
http://newagebd.net/238813/another-shibir-man-killed-gunfight/

Shahid Al Mahmud and Anisur Rahman
Picked up on June 13, and 16, 2016. Dead bodies found on July 1, 2016

Shahid Al Mahmud, a cattle farmer and Jamaat-e-Islami student activist, was picked up early in the morning on 13 June 2016 from his house in Jhenaidah in front of his parents and taken away in a microbus. Anisur Rahman, also a student activist, was picked up three days later from a hostel in Dhaka. Their bodies were recovered two weeks later. Police claimed they were killed during a gunfight with criminals at the Tatultala-Naldanga road in Jhenaidah
http://archive.newagebd.net/238630/2-shibir-leaders-detained-weeks-ago-killed-gunfight/

Sohanur Rahman
Picked up on April 10, 2016. Dead body found on April 20, 2016

Sohanur Rahman, a supporter of the Jamaat-e-Islami, was arrested in Ishwarba village in Jhenaidah, in front of his younger brother. His body, with bullet injuries, was found 10 days later.
http://www.daily-sun.com/post/129965/Abducted-college-student-found-dead-in-Chudanga

Abu Jar Gifari and Shamim Mahmud
Picked up on March 18 and 25, 2016. Dead bodies found together on April 13, 2016

Abu Jar Gifari, a Jamaat-e-Islami student leader in Jhenaidah, was picked up as he left the mosque after Friday prayers on March 18 by four armed men in plainclothes, who identified themselves as police. Shamim Mahmud, also a Jamaat-e-Islami student activist, was picked up outside a grocery store by men claiming to be police on March 25. Nearly three weeks later, on April 13 their bodies were recovered, allegedly with bullet wounds, near the cremation ground in Jessore Sadar Upazila.
http://www.thedailystar.net/backpage/bullet-hit-bodies-two-shibir-men-found-1208815

Mukul Rana (Sharif alias Saleh alias Arif)
Picked up on February 23, 2016, killed on June 19, 2016

Mukul Rana, accused of involvement in the killing of blogger Avijit Roy, was picked up and put in a microbus from Bashundia intersection in Jessore by men who self-identified as police. Four months later, police said his body was recovered after a gunfight
http://www.thedailystar.net/frontpage/confusion-over-arrest-mukuls-brother-law-1243570

Mohammad Jasim Uddin
Picked up February 12, 2016, dead body found March 2, 2016

Mohammad Jasim Uddin, a student at Jhenaidah Alia Madrasa and a leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami student wing, was picked up in Dhaka by some men in plainclothes claiming to be police. His body was found in a field 20 days later bearing torture marks.
http://www.thedailystar.net/city/missing-shibir-leaders-bullet-hit-body-found-786493

Abu Huraira
Picked up January 24, 2016, dead body found February 29, 2016

Abu Huraira, a teacher at Kuthi Durgapur Madrasa and a senior member of Jamaat-e-Islami in Jhenaidah, was picked up outside the school where he taught by men who identified themselves as Detective Branch members. His body was found a month later on the Jessore-Jhenaidah road
http://www.observerbd.com/2016/03/01/139188.php



Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Disappearances in last two years - the men still missing


Updated: January 22, 2018

Disappearing people has now become a well known practice undertaken by Bangladesh law enforcement agencies - a systematic technique by which a person is secretly detained for varying periods of time totally outside the law, their whereabouts unknown with the state denying any knowledge of the person.

After spending a period of time in secret detention - usually weeks or months - there are four possible outcomes:
  • the person is killed. In 2016, out of over 90 disappeared, 21 were killed; In 2017, out of about 80 disappeared, 7 so far have been killed
  • the person is simply released on the streets. This happens, but it unusual
  • the person is taken to the court and 'formally arrested' with the police concocting a story that they were arrested the previous day. They are then, "legally", sent to jail. This is what happens to most people.
  • the person remains disappeared. In 2016, out of over 90 disappeared, 8 remain missing; In 2017, out of about 80 disappeared, 17 remain missing
The people picked up and secretly detained fall into a number of categories of people. There are:

- those that are linked to opposition politics, sometimes at a senior level;

- those the authorities suspect, rightly or wrongly, are involved in militancy in some way;

- those who for one political reason or the other, it is useful for the state to secretly detain;

- those involved in conflict within the Awami League;

- those involved in other kinds of private conflicts where one of the parties to the conflict has the power to obtain the use of a law enforcement agency to do his bidding;

The pick ups are primarily undertaken by the Detective Branch of the Police, the Counter Terrorism Unit (which has emerged out of the DB), or by the para-military organisation, the Rapid Action Battalion - though RAB's involvement seems to be declining in recent years. The ordinary police are also involved, as are sometimes the country's intelligence agencies in particular the country's military intelligence agency, DGFI.

The government has, it seems, informally given law enforcement authorities a general green light to carry out secret detentions in certain circumstances. There are however a few undertaken at a low level which are outside of any authorisation, and many others (particularly those involving more high profile subjects) done with specific high level governmental authorisation.

To read more about disappearances in Bangladesh, see the recent Human Rights Watch report

Picked up in last two years, continued to be disappeared
Below are the details of 34 people** allegedly picked up by Bangladesh law enforcement authorities since 2016 who remain disappeared - that is to say they have not yet been released, "formally arrested", or their dead body has not been found.

In effect, what this means is that Bangladesh state authorities are either secretly detaining or have killed them.

The information below is based on media news reports, and information from the human rights organisation Odhikar and in some cases direct interviews with families. It is very likely that are more people who are disappeared - but whose cases have not been reported.

Please note that it is not uncommon for men, who have been picked up to subsequently be shown arrested after some time, so this is an ever-changing situation. If you have any further information on these or other enforced disappearances in Bangladesh, please e-mail Bangladesh Politico


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Maroof Zaman
Picked up on 4 December 2017

Maroof Zaman, a former Bangladeshi ambassador to Qatar and Vietnam, went missing on 4 December 2017 when he drove to Dhaka airport to pick up his daughter. Subsequently, masked men entered the family house and took away his computer.
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/12/disappearances-plague-bangladesh-171208160532558.html

Robiul Islam
Picked up on October 25, 2017

Two men, identifying themselves as members of RAB, picked up Robiul Islam, a one-time drug dealer who now worked for a NGO "Robir Alo", as they wanted him to provide information.

Sohel Khan
Picked up on July 17, 2017 
Sohel Khan, the General Secretary of youth wing of Awami League of Chingrakhali union in Bagherat was picked up by RAB on July 17, 2017 
http://www.mzamin.com/article.php?mzamin=74822&cat=9

Abdullah Al Faruq
Picked up on July 18, 2017

Abdullah Al Faruq, a student activist of the Awami League was picked up in Rajshai on July 18 by men who identified themselves as from the Rapid Action Battalion.
http://www.mzamin.com/article.php?mzamin=74822

Mohammad Siddiqur Rahman Nahid
Picked up on June 9, 2017
Mohammad Siddiqur Rahman Nahid, Assistant General Secretary of Narsingdi Government College unit of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party was picked up on 9 June by about 10 men identifying themselves as law enforcement officers
http://www.theindependentbd.com/post/98755

Rizwan Haroon
Picked up on May 10, 2017

Lakehead Grammar School co-founder Rizwan Haroon was picked up by law enforcement officials from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport on May 10 upon his arrival from the United Kingdom in an Emirates Airways flight, according to news reports.
http://www.newagebd.net/print/article/15611

Emon Hossain
Picked up between May 4 and 6, 2017
Emon Hossain, was one of seven men picked up between May 4 and 6, 2017 from two Villages in Jhenaidah district apparently by law enforcement authorities, and whilst the others were 'arrested' in subsequent months, he remains disappeared.
http://www.prothom-alo.com/bangladesh/article/1184506/

Abdul Kuddus Pramanik
Picked up on 30 March 2017
Md. Abdul Kuddus Pramanik, a farmer, was picked up in Rajshai on 30 Mar 2017 by a group of men who introduced themselves as law enforcement officers.
Prothom Alo 1 April, 2017 

Shafikur Rahman, Md Hasan, and Moazzam Hossain Sathi
Picked up on 24 March 2017
SM Shafikur Rahman, 35, involved with a transportation business, and his brothers-in-law Md Hasan, 21, and Moazzem Hossain Sathi, 18 were picked up in Chittagong on March 24, 2017  by men who introduced themselves as law enforcement officers.

Imrul Hossain, Ibrahim Gazi, Rezaul Islam, Alam Khan
Picked up in late March 2017

Men, claiming to be police officers, picked up six men from different villages in the Sadar and Kotchandpur upazilas of Jhenaidah district over a two week period. One was later freed, and another shown arrested, with the whereabouts of four men remaining unknown.
http://103.16.74.132/country/six-jhenidah-people-picked-1386622
Shafiqul Islam Modhu
Picked up on 13 January 2017
Shafiqul Islam Modhu, an employee of Rangpur Karuponno Garment Company, was picked up in Rangpur on January 13, 2017 by law enforcement officers from the house of his father in law in front of his family.
Reported in Daily Manabzamin, on 8 February 2017

Hassan Ali
Picked up on 7 January 2017
Hassan Ali, who worked as a salesman for a clothes shops, was picked up in Dhaka on 7 Jan 2017 by plain clothes dressed men, one of whom was identified in CCTV footage as being from the Detective Branch of Police
http://www.prothom-alo.com/bangladesh/article/1085765

Abdullahil Amaan Azmi
Picked up on 22 August, 2016
According to his family, Azmi was picked up on 22 August from his family house in Mogh Bazaar in Dhaka. Azmi is the son of Ghulam Azam, a Jamaat-e-Islami leader, who died in jail in 2014 after an earlier conviction for crimes against humanity during the country's 1971 independence war. Azmi was dismissed from the army in May 2009, five months after the Awami League government came to power.http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/08/concern-missing-sons-bangladeshi-politicians-160829095028714.html

Mir Ahmed Bin Quasem
Picked up on 9 August, 2016
According to his family, Quasem was picked up late at night on 9 August from his home in Mirpur in Dhaka. Ahmed is the son of Mir Quasem Ali, a Jamaat-e-Islami leader, who was executed on September 4 (whilst his son remained disappeared) following conviction for crimes committed during the country's independence war,
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/08/bangladesh-sons-convicted-war-criminals-detained-160811134823481.html


Yasin Mohammad Abdus Samad Talukdar
Family claim picked up on 14 July, 2016
According to his family, Yasin Mohammad Abdus Samad Talukdar, who has no political affiliation, was picked up on 14 July from the DOHS Benani railway crossing in Dhaka by law enforcement authorities, whom local people thought were from Rapid Action Batallion.
https://thewire.in/77772/british-bangladeshi-suspected-militant-links-detained-secretly-bangladesh-state-four-months/

Kamrul Islam Sikdar Musa
Family claim picked up on 22 June, 2016
His wife claims that on 22 June, a group of plainclothes policemen went to the house of a friend in the Kathgar area of Chittagong where she and her family were then staying and arrested her husband, a sand trader who also sells bricks, close to the house. The police say that they are still trying to arrest Musa who is suspected of involvement in the killing of the wife of a senior police officer.

Bivas Sangma (25)
Family claim that picked up on 14 April, 2016
Bivas was a second year graduate student at Tinani Adarsha Degree College in Jhinaigati. His family members claim that sometime after 4:00 am on April 14, men who said that they were law enforcement officials, with some of them wearing RAB uniforms, came to their house and took Sangma away. He is related to Probhat Marak and Rajesh Marak who were picked up on the same day (see below)

Rajesh Marak (22)
Family claim that picked up on 14 April, 2016
The family of Rajesh, a student at a private university in Dhaka, says that her brother was picked up, by men claiming to be members of law enforcement agency, from his elder sister’s house located near Bhaluka College in Mymensingh.
http://www.thedailystar.net/backpage/3-garo-men-missing-over-2-weeks-1216753

Probhat Marak (60),
Family claim that picked up on 14 April, 2016
Family members claim that Probhat, a day labourer, was picked up in by law enforcement officers from his home in Gajni village in Sherpur. He is related to  Bivas Sangma and Rajesh Marak who were also picked up on the same day (see above)

Sheikh Mohammad Moyajjem Hossain Tapu (28)
Family claim picked up on 26 January, 2016
Tape was president of 22 Ward of student wing of the governing party the Awami League in Rampura in Dhaka and General Secretary of the student wing of Awami League of Rampura Police Station unit. His family claim that on January 26 at around 11.00 pm, men who identified themselves as DB police picked Tapu up from a flat in Bashundhara residential area, Dhaka.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Inter-parliamentary union in Dhaka: Is this really going on?

Prime minister meets with speakers of 19 ipu member states
One must have more than a sneaking regard for how the Awami League government has managed to persuade the Inter-Parliamentary Union to host its assembly in Bangladesh this week with more than 650 MPs from 132 countries apparently attending.


The IPU may not have a high threshold of standards for membership, but one would expect - or at least hope - that since the organisation’s constitution suggests it is concerned about ‘representative institutions’ it would scrutinise the parliaments of the countries which sought to host its assemblies.

Well, in relation to Bangladesh, it seems it did not.

At the last election, in 2014, a majority of the parliamentary seats were uncontested and the remaining ones remained mostly uncompetitive. Even though polls showed that a free and fair election would have resulted in a close contest, possibly with the BNP alliance winning, just about every seat went to a member of the Awami League or its alliance of parties.

Not quite so representative.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

UN's 14 key demands on Bangladesh government human rights record


The United Nations Human Rights Committee - which assesses state parties' compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights - published its report on Tuesday setting out its observations on Bangladesh government 's compliance with the convention.

This report followed the government providing to the committee written and oral evidence of its claimed compliance.



Below are 14 key demands made by the committee along with extracts of what the committee stated.


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Bangladesh government at the UN Human Rights Committee

Anisul Huq, the Bangladesh Law Minister, responding to
questions at the UN Human Rights Committee
17 years ago, in September 2000, Bangladesh's Awami League government ratified the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Under the treaty, within a year, the government was required to provide the UN Human Rights Committee a report on its compliance. But it failed to do so, as did the subsequent BNP 2001– 2006 government, the 2007 to 2008 emergency caretaker government and the 2009 to 2014 Awami League government.

A year into its new term of office, and 15 years after the initial ratification, the Awami League government did finally submit its first report which earlier this month came up for consideration before the Human Rights Committee.

Though the Committee has no teeth, it was nonetheless refreshing to see the committee put the Bangladesh government though its paces on two separate days - something which one does not see much of these days inside Bangladesh, as the country has a parliament without a proper opposition, and an increasingly restricted (and nationalist) media unwilling (or unable) to ask hard and concerted questions.

So what did we learn from the law minister, Anisul Huq, who represented the government in Geneva? Here are my 8 most notable inaccuracies – other people will no doubt find others - along with four other interesting government comments.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Daily Star, Padma Bridge and Canada's Federal court

Over a month ago, the Daily Star published a front page news article on a Canadian court decision dealing with the admissibility of wiretap evidence in a trial involving three men alleged to have been involved in a conspiracy to corrupt a Padma bridge consultancy contract.

The Daily Star is one of Bangladesh's great success stories. It seeks to be an independent and fearless newspaper, and though it may not always succeed,  it often does, and for its efforts it has been roundly punished by the government - in advertising bans, attacks by the prime minister and her son, and an organised effort to file criminal cases against its editor.

On this occasion, however, the Daily Star failed to report independently or accurately about this judgement and gave further steam to a false narrative widely propogated by Bangladesh's governing party spokespersons - which has indeed now resulted in a High Court order seeking the establishment of a commission of inquiry.