June 13, 2017
Seven international and regional civil society organisations have expressed their deep concern over violent threats received by prominent lawyer and human rights activist Sultana Kamal. In a letter calling upon the Bangladesh authorities to conduct “credible investigation into threats of violence and ensure protection of Sultana Kamal”, the organisations stated that she has received threats from the “radical Islamist group Hefazat-e-Islam” after expressing her views on a TV talk show.
Signed by the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), Front Line Defenders, Amnesty International, South Asians for Human Rights, Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development, the Association for Progressive Communications and International Service for Human Rights, the letter stated that on 28 May, Sultana Kamal, Hefazat representative Mufti Sakhawat Hossain and others, appeared on a TV talk show to discuss the removal of the lady justice sculpture from the Supreme Court premises. Hefazat-e-Islam had insisted the statue needed to be dismantled on 26 May, arguing that it would lead to idol worship which went against the tenets of Islam.
During the talk show, Sultana said that if no religious structure was permitted, then no mosques should be on the premises either. Reacting to this statement, Hefazat demanded her arrest within 24 hours. A Hefazat leader stated ‘we will break every bone in [her] body.’ Sultana received various other threats, including on social media. A person even posted a photo of Sultana Kamal, edited to look like she was being hanged.
https://www.amnesty.org.au/act-now/iar839-sultana-kamal/ (AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL URGENT PETITION – PLEASE SIGN!)