August 23, 2016
Why are the sons of two Bangladesh opposition politicians being secretly detained by the country’s law enforcement authorities, and what will happen to them?
Over two weeks ago, on the morning of August 4, 33-year-old businessman Hummam Quader Chowdhury, the son of the late Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, a leader of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), was taken from his caras it stopped at traffic lights close to the magistrate’s court in Old Dhaka.
Six days later, 32-year-old Supreme Court lawyer Mir Ahmed Bin Quasem, the son of Mir Quasem Ali, leader of the other main opposition party, the Jamaat-e-Islami, was also picked up by law enforcement authorities from his house late at night.
Bangladesh’s various policing and intelligence bodies all deny knowledge or involvement in the pick ups of the two men and their continuing unlawful detention. The Wire, however, has confirmed that both men are being held in state custody, and also that Bangladeshi authorities have informed the US government of their detentions.
It should of course be of no surprise that the state agencies deny knowledge of their detention, as to do so would be to admit that they are operating outside the law. The Code of Criminal Procedure 1898 requires the police to bring the men to court within 24 hours of detention, and only detain them further following a magistrate’s order – none of which has happened.
Secret detentions are no longer uncommon in Bangladesh…