May 10, 2019
Lawyer Palash Kumar Roy died after prison officials allegedly torched him in a jail in northwestern Bangladesh. As officials and the victim’s family trade accusations, a Dhaka court has ordered a probe into the incident.
On April 26, suspects torched Palash Kumar Roy in a prison in Panchagarh district in northwestern Bangladesh. The lawyer, referred to as “Palash” by the local media, died four days later while undergoing treatment at Dhaka Medical College Hospital’s burn unit.
Previously, in a recorded conversation obtained by DW, the 37-year-old said that he had joined the Kohinoor Chemical Company as a legal officer in 2013. However, he was asked to do various illegal and immoral activities, including possession of government land, but he refused. In 2016, he resigned from the job, after which a false case was filed against him for allegedly embezzling 3.1 million taka ($11,381).
On March 25, Palash and his family began a hunger strike in front of the office of Panchagarh’s deputy commissioner and followed it up with a human chain on the highway. Palash was giving a speech when he was arrested by the police, who accused him of insulting Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in his statements. A case was filed against him and he was sent to the district jail.
He was threatened several times during his prison term, but his complaints were unheard and officials did not take any action. “On April 25, around 10 in the morning, two people came to me and threw something from a bottle of Tiger [a local energy drink] and set my body on fire,” Palash said in his audio statement.
Prasenjit Kumar, the lawyer’s nephew, recorded the audio just before Palash died. “Palash was suffering from breathing difficulties. We did not think he would die. He asked me, does your mobile have a recording option? I want to talk about something. Then I recorded his words on my mobile phone. He died after half an hour,” he told DW.