Tag Archives: Bangladesh

Bangladesh: New Arrests Over Social Media Posts

May 17, 2019


Bangladesh authorities made a series of new arrests in their crackdown on the right to free speech, Human Rights Watch said today. The arrests were based on vague charges such as “hurting religious sentiment” or undermining “law and order.”

Those arrested include Abdul Kaium, a human rights activist; Henry Sawpon, a well-known poet; and Imtiaz Mahmood, a lawyer. All three were detained and charged under section 57 of the draconian Information Communication and Technology (ICT) Act or its more abusive successor, the Digital Security Act 2018.

“Arresting activists, poets, and lawyers for exercising their right to free speech is straight out of the authoritarian playbook,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “The Bangladesh government should stop locking up its critics and review the law to ensure it upholds international standards on the right to peaceful expression.”

A group of writers, artists, and journalists staged a protest in Dhaka’s Shahbagh square on May 15, saying they would go on an indefinite strike beginning on May 17 if Sawpon and Mahmood were not released. Both Sawponand Mahmood were granted bail on May 16; Kaium remains in detention.








Bangladesh: Dhaka High Court orders probe into lawyer’s alleged murder

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.

Bangladesch Gerichtshof in Dhaka hat die Totesstrafe gegen Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid bestätigt (M. Uz ZamanAFP/Getty Images)

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.


Palash Kumar Roy brutally murdered by hired assassins in prison






Bangladesh: Sultana Kamal receives death threat from militant group

May 9, 2019


On 4 May 2019, Sultana Kamal filed a complaint at the Dhanmondi Police Station in Dhaka, detailing a threat on her life and requesting protection from state authorities. The death threat against her was made by the militant Islamist group Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh in their online publication ‘Lone Wolf’ dated March 2019.

Sultana Kamal is a human rights defender and lawyer known for her work on civil and political as well as gender rights. She is currently the chairperson of several human rights organisations, including South Asians for Human Rights, Transparency International Bangladesh and We Can Bangladesh. Sultana Kamal is also the co-chairperson of the Chittagong Hill Tracts Commission. For over 15 years, she served as the Executive Director of Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK), a legal aid and human rights organisation in Bangladesh.

The death threat against Sultana Kamal was published in the March 2019 issue of ‘Lone Wolf’, a publication of the militant Islamist group Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen circulated on the Telegram messaging app. Sultana Kamal’s name was mentioned in a list of “targets” identified by the group alongside suggestions of possible ways to kill them. She and a few others were also labelled as ‘murtad’ or apostates in the publication.

This is not the first time that Sultana Kamal has received threats from fundamentalist groups. On 2 June 2017, another hardline Islamist group named Hefazat-e-Islam had threatened her with arrest, exile, and violence for disagreeing with one of their representatives on a TV show.








Bangladesh: Mainul taken back to jail after medical check-up at RMCH

November 11, 2018

Image result for Mainul Hosein.

Detained Supreme Court lawyer and former adviser to caretaker government Mainul Hosein was taken back to jail after medical check-up at Rangpur Medical College Hospital on Saturday morning following a High Court directive.
Amzad Hossain Don, jailer of Rangpur Central Jail, said that he was taken to the hospital around 9:00am and brought back to jail around 10:30am.
The High Court Division on Thursday directed the government to inform it on Sunday whether facilities were available at Rangpur Medical College Hospital or Rangpur Central Jail to screen health of detained former MP Mainul Hosein.
Rangpur Medical College Hospital director Ajay Kumar said that a five-member medical team led by head of the medicine department Debendranath Sarker examined him. The medical team found him primarily stable, he said.
When asked about Mainul’s illness, the director said that the team suggested for some medical examinations and it could be said about his illness after getting the examination reports.
On November 3, Mainul Hosein was transferred to Rangpur jail from Dhaka Central Jail to produce before court for his bail hearing.
He was denied bail on November 4 by the additional chief judicial magistrate court. Later he was sent to Rangpur jail.
His lawyer appealed to the court to arrange medical treatment considering his physical condition.
On October 16, Mainul Hosein on a television talk show called a female journalist ‘debauched’.
On October 22, a human rights and development activist of Rangpur, Mili Maya filed a defamation case against Mainul Hosein with the additional chief judicial magistrate’s court.
Judge Arifa Yasmin Mukta issued an arrest warrant against Mainul accepting the case on the day. Mainul was arrested on that night in Dhaka.







Bangladesh: Bangladesh arrests prominent government critic

October 22, 2018

The BNP says police have arrested at least 4,000 of its activists on trumped-up charges since September

Bangladesh police on Monday arrested a prominent critic of the government who recently helped the country’s embattled opposition parties forge an alliance amid fears that dissent is being stifled in the South Asian nation.

Police said Moinul Hosein, a top lawyer and a publisher of an English daily, was detained from Dhaka’s Uttara neighbourhood hours after Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina slammed him for his comments against a pro-government female journalist.

“He has been arrested after a warrant of arrest was issued against him”, a senior Dhaka Metropolitan Police officer told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Hosein, 78, who does not belong to any political party, emerged as a top critic of the government in recent months and was a key organiser of the recently formed alliance between the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and other centrist parties.

Premier Hasina on Monday attacked Hosein for his comments against the woman journalist whom he described as “characterless”, accusing him of collaborating with Pakistan during Bangladesh’s war of independence against the Islamic republic, the state-run BSS news agency reported.

She asked female journalists to protest Hosein’s remark and urge them to file cases against him.









UK/Bangladesh/India: UK lawyer alleges India deported him under Bangladesh pressure

July 13, 2018

Lord Alex Carlile, a member of the legal team of opposition BNP leader Khaleda Zia, was deported from New Delhi airport.

UK lawyer alleges India deported him under Bangladesh pressure

A senior UK lawyer has claimed that the Indian government deported him from the country at the behest of neighbouring Bangladesh government, which wanted to stop him from lobbying on behalf of a jailed opposition leader.

Lord Alex Carlile QC, a member of the legal team of Khaleda Zia, chairperson of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), who was jailedin February for five years on corruption charges, said that he was “shocked that India should have succumbed supinely to representations by the Bangladesh government”.

The BNP leader and five others were accused of embezzling over 21 million taka ($252,000) from foreign donations intended for the Zia Orphanage Trust – a charity named after former President Ziaur Rahman, Zia’s husband.




Bangladesh: Sheikh Hasina Complicit in Secret Detentions by Bangladesh Intelligence, Says Source

May 28, 2018

Interviews with a close political colleague of the prime minister are the first time that evidence has pointed towards the prime minister’s direct involvement. Under the current regime, there have been hundreds of secret detentions by law enforcement authorities, many involving the opposition.

Hummam Quader Chowdhury and Mir Ahmed Bin Quasem. Credit: Facebook

Bangladesh’s prime minister signed off on secret detentions by the country’s intelligence services as part of a widening crackdown on the opposition, a close associate has claimed.

Sheikh Hasina is said to have given the country’s military intelligence agency Directorate General of Forces Intelligence, known as DGFI, “clearance” to illegally pick up two men linked with the opposition who were secretly detained for months.

The whereabouts of one of the men remains unknown, 20 months after he was detained.

Bangladesh has faced severe criticism from human rights organisations over its record of enforced disappearances.

Under the current administration, there have been hundreds of secret detentions by law enforcement authorities, many involving the political opposition, with dozens of victims turning up dead or never returning.

The political associate of the prime minister said that the disappearances of both Mir Ahmed Bin Quasem, a British-trained barrister who was picked up from his flat in Dhaka in front of his wife and children, and Hummam Quader Chowdhury, who was taken from his car as his mother watched, were “authorised by the prime minister” in August 2016 after DFGI approached Sheikh Hasina with a “concocted” story about a conspiracy between them against the government.

Bin Quasem, also known as Arman, is the son of a Jamaat-e-Islami leader who was subsequently executed for crimes committed during the country’s independence war. Chowdhury’s father was a prominent leader of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party and was also executed for 1971 war crimes.

Whilst Chowdhury was released onto the streets of Dhaka in April 2017 after disappearing for seven months, Bin Quasem remains missing.