Paralyzed Democracy – is anybody concerned?

Jun 27, 2011

Paralyzed Democracy – is anybody concerned?

A special report

Evaluating the Human Rights Situation in Bangladesh

After making a historic return to democratic system from the military-backed caretaker government reign, Bangladesh has passed more than two years with a democratic government. But the overwhelming lack of political tolerance, absence of necessary and effective institutions to ensure a democratic polity and blatant violations of human rights still remain the biggest hurdles for democracy in Bangladesh. The present reality of Bangladesh proves again that while a representative government is essential for democratic practice, is not enough if the executive, judiciary and the legislative bodies fail to play their respective roles to ensure constitutional and international norms of human rights. In such a situation, undemocratic and dictatorial nature of power manifests in many different ways and abuses the state machinery for partisan and narrow political gain. Some categorized events which have shaken the base of democracy in the last two years are enclosed herewith which will represent the current scenario of the socio-political environment of Bangladesh

Killing

According to the documentation of Odhikar, a leading human rights organisation in Bangladesh, 17 persons were reportedly killed and over 500 persons were injured in post-election violence in different places across the country. In most cases, activists and supporters of the Awami League (AL) led Grand Alliance were found to be involved in such clashes. In many districts, AL activists attacked the houses and shops of the BNP and Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami supporters and vandalized their property.

In 2010, 3 students of Bangladesh Islami Chhatrashibir were murdered by the terrorists of the ruling party. They are: Hafizur Rahman Shahin from Rajshahi, Mohiuddin Masum from Cox’s Bazar and Harunur Rashid Kaisar.

Newspapers have reported that killing has significantly increased on average around Dhaka city. In one day there had been 5 killings in Dhaka city.[1] Just couple of days later one newspaper reported that in Maghbazar area one Jubo League cadre was killed by Chhtra league (both are branches of Awami League)[2]. While another newspaper reports Chhtra league cadre was killed by Jubo League cadres[3]

Miscreants shot dead a student leader at Narsingdi Government College and left two others injured. The victim Billal Hossain Roni, aged 21, was the General Secretary of the college students union and President of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD) college unit.[4] Police action killed a Madrasa student during the hartal called by Islami Ain Bastobayon Committee.[5]

Councilor of Meherpur municipality Mizanur Rahman Ripon died at a hospital in Dhaka after seven days of battle who was wounded in bomb blast. Another councilor Abdullah Bin Hashem and three others were injured in the same incident in Meherpur town on April1, are still fighting for life.[6]

In Mirpur, Kushtia BNP Ward Commissioner and UP member was killed. In Sunamganj, a Chhatra Dal leader was assaulted who later died at a hospital. In Tongi, men from the ruling party killed a garments worker. In Jessore a laborer was killed and in Naogaon, a man was mugged and then killed. All these took place on 19 March 2011[7]. A BNP member in Meherpur was killed in a bomb attack, while two others were injured.[8]

In Narayanganj police recovered the dead body of a BNP worker (member of Jatiyadabadi Shwechchhashebok Dal). Police suspects the victim was hit by a heavy object on the head and then strangled to death. The body was sent to the morgue for autopsy.[9] A leader of Jatiyatabadi Swechchhasebak Dal (JSD), the voluntary and front organization of BNP, was killed at Mizmizi village at Siddhirganj. Locals found the body of Mokhlesur Rahman Juboraj, age 48, Joint Health Affairs Secretary of Central Committee of SD with injury marks, including a head wound.[10] Unidentified criminals killed a BNP activist and injured two others in a bomb attack in Mujibnagar upazila of Meherpur. The deceased Bina Khan, age 35, is the son of Mujibnagar unit BNP President Ibrahim Hossain.[11]

Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) activists abducted a Jatiotabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD) leader Arifur Rahman Aunu and beaten him to death in Pirozpur on 1 January. Aunu was secretary of Literature and cultural affairs of Pirozpur JCD. Awami terror Tara Selim and his aide abducted him on the way of his journey to Dhaka to attend a party program and attacked his critically.5 BNP leader of Burichong Upazila of Comilla Mokter Hossen (40) is brutally killed by terror on 16 January. He was organizing secretary of Burichon BNP. 6

Two persons including a ward leader of Jubo Dal were killed at the capital’s Motijheel and Kalyanpur on 10 January. Shahid was shot dead around 6:30am near Motijheel Police Station when he was going on foot from his hotel and restaurant at Motijheel to Kaptan Bazar.7 A local Sramik Dal leader, Md Sirajul Islam (60), was beaten to death by ruling party cadres in Matiranga upazila on 1 January at night.8

Awami League Cadres have killed a polling agent in Jessore on 13 January in the time of Pourosova election. The victim is Kamal Hosen and was working as polling agent in favor of BNP.9 A Jubodol leader at Raypur in Narshindi named Siraj Miah (30) died on 31 October’10 as local Awami League leader and activists tortured him severely. In Kushtia’s Mirpur, a BNP leader was killed by miscreants.[12] Another activist of Jatiyatabadi Jubo Dal, the youth front of BNP, was stabbed to death on Saturday in Nabiganj upazila of Habiganj in a post-election attack just two days after the BNP candidate defeated his ruling party rival in the Habiganj-1 by-poll.[13] In Vheramara, a BNP activist was killed by the attack of the opposition.[14]

In November 2010, several incidents of political murder have occurred throughout the country. Almost in every such murder, the activists of various wings of the ruling party were reportedly involved. On 8th November, a leader of Chhatradal, which is the student wing of BNP, was killed by a terrorist attack at Gorpur.[15] Another activist of Jatiyatabadi Juba Dal was stabbed to death in front of the Jessore Education Board office on 13th November. The deceased was identified as Rabiul Islam Jasim, 27, son of Abdur Rauf of Shankarpur in the town.[16] At Chhayabithi of Gazipur, one BNP leader was chopped to death in front of his home. He was the executive memebr of Gazipur City BNP.[17] A Jatiyatabadi Jubo Dal activist was shot dead allegedly by the activists of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) at Betbunia under Kawkhali upazila on 20th November.[18] 2 Chhatradal leaders at Bagerhat and Chittagong and Sramik Leader were killed on 21 November. Among them Emdadul Hoq was the Sports secretary of zilla Chhatradal.[19]

A BNP activist’s body was discovered in Chandpur district on September 30. His name is Anwar Hossain and he was 36. His family alleged that he was victim of a deliberate killing[20]. Just couple of days later another Jubodal (youth branch of BNP) leader was kiiled in Durgapur by an attack allegedly carried out by Awami League cadres.[21]

Murder of Sanaullah Babu

Awami League activists, with dagger, knife and steel rod, beat to death Sanaullah Noor Babu, in 8th October during a BNP procession in Bonpara Bazar, Natore. He was a BNP-backed chairman of Boraigram upazila,. Around 50 AL activists equipped with firearms, sticks, iron rods and machetes swooped on the BNP procession and started beating the opposition men, leaving 30 injured which included Bonpara Municipality Mayor Ishaq Ali and four journalists. Killers of Boraigram upazila chairman Sanaullah Noor Babu were set free although Natore police identified 16 people from video footage of the attack that had killed Babu the previous day. Police arrested only one of them in this connection. The arrestee, Russell Hossain Rappu, is a Bangladesh Chhatra League activist of the upazila. Several footages from TV news showed how Babu was brutally beaten to death on October 8 allegedly by AL men.

The main accused, Zakir Hossain, stayed out of police reach. Awami League lawmaker of Baraigram-Gurudaspur constituency Abdul Quddus yesterday assured his party men accused of the BNP leader Sanaullah Noor Babu murder case of “trouble-free” future. “There is nothing to be worried about. The Awami League Government is in power. Nothing will happen to the accused of the murder case,” he told a party rally on Bonpara bypass. While the Natore Awami League and the local MP are trying to portray the murder of BNP leader Sanaullah Noor Babu as a consequence to BNP’s internal feud, the investigators are certain that the ruling party activists had committed the offence. Investigation officer (IO) of the case Sub-Inspector Abdul Hannan of Detective Branch said “I have enough evidence against the accused but they are now hiding to escape arrests”. The main accused Zakir, a member of Boraigram Upazila unit AL, is now under local MP’s shelter.

Ten accused in Boraigram upazila chairman Sanaullah Noor Babu Murder case were freed on bail from Natore jail on 10 March. A defense counsel submitted the bail order, issued by a High Court bench on March 8, to the chief judicial magistrate (CJM) of Natore. After receiving the bail order from the CJM, the jail authorities freed them. “I feel very insecure as most of the accused are free now,” Mahua Noor Kochi, wife of the slain BNP leader told a daily news paper.[22]

 

Many Awami League activists were killed in intra party clashes all over the country. A Jubodol leader at Raypur in Narshindi named Siraj Miah (30) died on 31 October’10 as local Awami League leader and activists tortured him severely. Another AL activist was died after the clash between two groups of AL in Sonargaon that left at least 15 more injured.[23]

An Awami League activist was killed in a fierce clash between two groups of AL men over submission of a tender in Shailkupa. The deceased is Abdur Rashid, 28, of Kazipara village in Shailkupa. Two groups of local AL activists locked into a clash over submitting tender documents of Fazilpur and Khulumbaria Haats, said Sagir Mia, officer-in-charge of Shailkupa Police Station. Witnesses said loyalists of Toyeb hacked Rashid to death with machetes during the clash. Around 25 activists of both the groups were injured.[24]

One person was killed in a clash between two groups of Chhatra League at Gazipur on 14th November.[25] At Cox’s Bazaar a Chhatra League leader was shot to death on 21 November in an attack of terrorists.[26] A man was killed and 25 others were injured in a gunfight between activists of the ruling Awami League and the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party at Baghaikandi of Raipura in Narsingdi on 29 November.[27] A former freedom fighter was chopped to death by sons of AL leader at Netrokona.[28] A Businessman was stabbed to death at Chittagong by activists of Jubaleague, the youth wing of the ruling party.[29]

A local Jamaat leader was hacked to death by criminals at Chhoto Dhushia village in Brahmanpara upazila on Wednesday night.[30] Another Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami leader named Abul Kashem (40) was shot to death at Maheshkhali by his opponents.[31]

Numerous persons have been killed from attacks by Law enforcing agencies. Three were killed and 225 injured as the police clashed with apparel workers, out on demonstrations for the second consecutive day on 12 December in Chittagong.[32]

Violence in Campus

During the tenure of AL government, violence in educational institutions has become the order of the day. Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL), the student wing of AL, in an attempt to establish supremacy in the educational institutions has resorted to violence culminating not only in the closure of many educational institutions but also in the death of many students all over the country.

Earlier this year, five noted educationists of the country, Professors Kabir Chowdhury, Zillur Rahman Siddiqui, Serajul Islam Chowdhury, Jamal Nazrul Islam and Anisuzzaman, urged the Prime Minister who is also the President of AL, to sever all direct and indirect links with Bangladesh Chhatra League for the sake of congenial atmosphere in educational institutions.

Death of Abu Bakar:

On February 1, 2010, a student named Abu Bakar was killed in clashes between two groups of the Awami League-backed Chattra League at the Dhaka University . The clash took place between Chattra League’s A F Rahman Hall Unit President Saiduzzaman Faruk and its General Secretary Mehedi Hasan, over establishing supremacy in the University. Both groups attacked each other with knives, canes and hockey sticks. During the clash Abu Bakar was severely injured in front of his room on the third floor of A F Rahman Hall. On February 3, 2010, he died in Dhaka Medical College Hospital . On February 4, 2010, Home Minister Sahara Khatun at a meeting held at the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs said, “This is a stray incident. It is no big deal. Such things happen.”

There had been many reports of manipulating the illegal power in the campus by the BCL. Three students of Dhaka University were ousted from their dormitory by a Bangladesh Chattra League leader for remaining absent from an anti-hartal program[33]. Panic gripped resident students of Banamali Girls Hostel of Barisal Government Braja Mohan College after a group of Chhatra League activists forced their way into the hostel.[34] Residential students of Rajshahi University alleged that the Chhatra League, the ruling Awami League’s associate body of students, forced the general students to take their meal in the hall dining room by paying increased charge[35]

Intra party clashes among rival groups of BCL left several hundreds injured in Ziaur Rahman Hall of the University of Dhaka, Rajshahi University of Engineering and Technology, Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, University of Rajshahi, Jahangirnagar University and Jagannath University. A large number of casualties were also reported as a result of clashes between student political parties in Dinajpur Haji Danesh Science and Technology University , Netrokona Government College , Jagannath University Residential Halls , Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, Khulna Medical College , Narail Government Victoria College , Feni Government College and Dhaka Polytechnic Institute.

Factional infighting between activists of Bangladesh Chhatraleague’s (BCL) Jagannath University (JnU) unit left at least five persons injured in the university. Kotwali police arrested three BCL activists from the spot, while the university authorities temporarily suspended the trio. In another incident, two JnU correspondents filed separate general diaries at Kotwali police station demanding security after they were issued death threat over phone by a BCL leader of the university. Monday’s clash began when activists of BCL unit Babor group Ajijul Hakim beat up Srabon group activists Rupok and Binoy[36].

Clash between two wings of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) made Jagannath University battle field and led injuries of 50 students including journalist. It’s claim that these two wings were fuelled by president and secretary of the university.

General students were not spared from violence of BCL. Chhatra League activists beat up the General Secretary and President of Dhaka University Debating Society. Dhaka University expelled two Chhatra League members temporarily. Around 50 BCL men attacked debating society members. They also assaulted a female debater during the mishap[37].

Some activists of Bangladesh Chhatra League beat up five students of Jagannath University on the campus over previous enmity. The victims were identified as Saikul Islam Bokul, Tarikul, Ilias, Wahed and Humayun, all second-semester students of Economics department of the university.[38]

Many students were ousted from dormitories by BCL. A student was ousted from Surja Sen Hall of University of Dhaka for failing to attend a program where Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was invited.[39]. Another 3 students of Dhaka University were ousted from their dormitory by a Bangladesh Chattra League leader for remaining absent from an anti-hartal program.[40] This kind of incident has become a regular phenomenon in almost every public university. Opponent students as well as suspected opponent students are regularly being ousted from their dormitory if any clue about their political belonging is revealed.

In BUET (Bangladesh Institute of Engineering and Technology) campus, BCL men attacked students from a Leftist student group. One student was severely injured. The student leaders alleged that BCL men attacked them due to their ‘campaign against extortion’ (extortion has been a regular phenomenon by BCL men) in the DU campus area. They also alleged that the Vice Chancellor had not taken any step against this attack[41]. BCL cadres have beaten and later expelled a student of Haji Muhammad Mohsin Hall of University of Dhaka in suspicion that he might be an activist of JCD. The expelled students name is Abdur Rahim who is a fourth year student of History Department.[42] In Jagannath University, a Chhatra Dal leader was injured severely for not allowing the BCL members to take photocopying service for free. The injured leader was taken to hospital. Convener of JU Chhatra Dal said that ‘free service’ is nothing new for BCL men in the campus[43].

Miscreants shot and later chopped to death the General Secretary of Narsingdi Government College Students’ Union after entering the union’s office room at the campus. The deceased was Billal Hossain Roni, 20, Joint Secretary of the Narsingdi district unit of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (student wing of Bangladesh Nationalist Party).[44]

News reports revealed that within one month, 2 provosts and 22 students became victim of assault by Chhatra League cadres at Chittagong University. The victims and witnesses refused to talk about it for their safety. Proctor of CU said to the press that they are taking steps to investigate these issues[45]. Comilla University Chattra League vandalized the stage made for freshers’ reception of 640 students of 1st batch at the presence of police. This was Chhatra League’s response to the authority denying them to take control over the program.[46]

Bangladesh Islami Chhatra Shibir has been a major victim of BCL violence. Chhatra league beaten up 4 students in Dhaka University accusing they are related to the Shibir brutally while they were beaten them with hokey stick & rod then give them electric shock.[47] 1 Shibir worker were beaten up by Chhatra League in Dhaka College when they were attending their class & submitting documents in their departments & then given to police accusing of picketing during strike.[48]

Activists of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) Rajshahi University (RU) unit beat up a student of the university on the campus, branding him as an activist of Islami Chhatrashibir (ICS). The victim, Mizanur Rahman, is a fourth year student of law and justice department. He received injuries to his hands and legs and is now undergoing treatment at Rajshahi Medical Collage and Hospital (RMCH)[49] Mizanur Rahman had gone to his department to take an examination on Thursday morning. Chhatra League activists, led by Nayan, Humayun Kabir and Shimul Hossain, on hearing about his arrival, went to the department to find him. They injured him with a hammer when he was coming out of the examinations hall about 12 noon. Some of the teachers of the department rescued Mizanur and sent him to the hospital.  While the proctor, Chowdhury Zakaria, said he was not aware of any such incident taking place on the campus.[50]

Extra-judicial Killing and Custodial Deaths

During the year 2009 to July 2010, 222 people have reportedly been killed extra-judicially by law enforcement agencies. Of the deceased, 70 were reportedly killed by RAB ( Rap[id Action Battalion), 104 by police, 35 jointly by the RAB-Police ,3 by Army, 1 by Jail police, 1 by Forest Guard, 1 by Coast Guard, 2 by Bangladesh Ansar and 5 in BDR custody.

Human rights group Odhikar reported that law enforcement personnel killed a citizen every three days without any judicial mandate in 2010. It reported that 127 people were killed by the lawmen without trial though the government repeatedly pledged it would stop extrajudicial killings. The Rapid Action Battalion killed 68 of them, the police killed 43 and nine other were jointly killed by RAB and the police, and one by the Bangladesh Rifles [now Border Guards Bangladesh]. According to its reports, 16 people, picked up by plainclothesmen claiming to be lawmen, simply disappeared. They are yet to be traced. The annual human rights sum-up of the organization said at least 220 people were killed and around 14,000 injured in political violence in 2010. 11

On May 11, 2010, Md. Manik, a night-guard of the Anjuman Residential Hotel at Reyajuddin Bazaar, 116 Station Road , Chittagong , died while he was in custody at the Kotowali Police Station at Chittagong . Family members of the late Manik alleged to the fact finding officer of Odhikar, a leading human rights organisation in Bangladesh that SI Yunus Miah arrested Manik on May 10, 2010 and tortured him during interrogation which caused Manik’s death.

BNP alleges that the disappeared BNP leader Chowdhury Alam was abducted by the Government agencies. Chowdhury Alam is the acting city councilor of Dhaka City Corporation.[51]

A youth died at Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) under police custody while his family members alleged that he died due to torture in remand. However, Jahangir Kabir Khan, sub-inspector of Sutrapur Police Station, said Raja was a suspected accused in killing of an Ansar member Anisur Rahman on March 12.[52] On 25th May 2010, a businessman named Abul Kalam Azad passed away while in custody of RAB-1. The family members of the deceased alleged that Azad had been tortured to the death by RAB. Another people died in police custody in Chittagong while undergoing treatment at Chittagong Medical College Hospital (CMCH). The deceased is Islam (40).[53]

A female prisoner died mysteriously in Lalmonirhat district prison yesterday. The body of Rekha Begum, age 25, wife of Aminul Islam of Banvasamor village was reported by the jailer to have died of heart attack at the jail hospital during the noon. However, the victim’s family alleged that Rekha was tortured to death by the jail authorities.[54]

A man arrested on suspicion of being a mugger died of torture under the city’s Dhanmondi police custody. Refuting the allegation, police said Md Faisal alias Roni, aged 40, succumbed to his injuries from a mob beating before the arrest at Dhanmondi playground area.[55] Another man accused of abducting a 5-year-old child died in police custody in Faridpur Police Station of the district on Monday night.[56]

Many Under trial prisoners of BDR mutiny have died in custody in the last 12 months. According to Odhikar documentation, a total of 51 BDR members have died between February 2009 (when the BDR mutiny took place) and 31st December 2009. BDR Sepahi  Monir Hossain and Lance Nayek Mobarak Hossain died due to torture while in the custody of Rapid Action Battalion on 17th and 22nd March 2009, respectively. Family members of Monir Hossain alleged that he died due to torture.

On April 16, 2009 BDR Habildar Kazi Saidur Rahman of 13 Rifles Battalion passed away at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital. According to a hospital morgue source, marks of injuries were found on several parts of deceased’s body.  On May 26, 2009, Zakir Hossain Bhuiyan, Assistant Habildar, 19 Rifles Battalion of BDR died. On December 11, 2009, Habildar Rezaul Karim of 44 Rifles Battalion died at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University . It was mentioned in the inquest report that marks of injuries were found on the deceased’s shoulders, back and lower abdomen.

Total 7 people killed in February 2011 by the extrajudicial killings under the name of crossfire by law enforcing agencies.[57] A young man named Shamol (25) killed in crossfire in Rampura of Capital on 15 January.10 A 35-year-old businessman, reportedly picked by plainclothesmen on March 03, was killed in an apparent ‘crossfire’ with the Rapid Action Battalion near Zindabahar Park in Dhaka. The victim, Russell Ahmed, also known as Bhutto, had run spare parts shop in the Bangla Motor crossing.

The number of people killed extra judicially in the incidents of ‘crossfire,’ ‘gunfight’ or ‘encounter’ after January 1 reached to 25. Ten of them were killed in Dhaka. 255 people have so far fallen victims to extrajudicial killing by law enforcers since January 6, 2009 (the month when the Government expressed their commitment to end extrajudicial killing). The victim’s family said that RAB personnel in plain clothes had picked him up from his shop at arounf 4:30 p.m. on March 3.[58] Another alleged criminal was killed in a ‘shootout’ between his accomplices and Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) in the city’s Shyampur area under Kadamtali Police Station.[59]

A 32-year-old man, reportedly picked by plainclothesmen on Tuesday from Dhaka court premises, was killed in an apparent ‘gunfight’ with the Rapid Action Battalion at Shyampur in the capital. The deceased, Gopal Chandra Shil, 32, was wanted by the police as being accused in at least 12 cases, mostly related to murder according to the police. [60]

Two people were killed by the Rapid Action Battalion in so called ‘gunfights’ at Pallabi in Dhaka and in Barguna on Saturday, Dabir, also known as Takdir Hossain and Nabir Hassain, 30, was killed at Pallabi in Dhaka. The other, Abdul Khalek, 50, was killed at Badarkhali in the Barguna district headquarters.[61] A 35-year-old man was killed by the Rapid Action Battalion in ‘gunfight’ at Manikdi in Dhaka.[62] An alleged operative of Purba Banglar Communist Party (PBCP) was killed and another injured in separate ‘shootouts’ with law enforcers in Pabna.[63] A 30-year-old man said to be a robber was killed in a ‘gunfight’ with the police in the Botanical Garden at Mirpur, Dhaka.[64]

In Rupganj a criminal was killed by police’s kick; reportedly, after the arrest police punch him in the face & kicked.[65] In city’s Kafrul, a man was killed by RAB.[66] A pirate was killed in a ‘shootout’ with Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) on the estuary of Baleshwar River in Patharghata upazila of Barguna.[67] Two outlaws were killed in a ‘shootout’ by law enforcers. The deceased are Dulal Bepari alias Jamai Dulal, 33, of Padma Nagar in Harinakundo upazila and Mashiur Rahman, 31, of Shantidanga in Shailakupa upazila. Locals identified them as cadres of banned Jashad Gono Bahini.[68]

Extra judicial Killing

Month RAB Police RAB-Police Army Joint Force Jail Police Forest 

Guard

Ansar BDR-Custody Coast 

Guard

Total
January 2 6 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 9
February 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 2
March 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
April 1 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 5
May 11 1 1 2 0 0 0 1 2 0 18
June 0 5 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 7
July 1 1 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5
August 2 10 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 19
September 11 16 7 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 36
October 6 18 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 28
November 4 9 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 14
December 2 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 10
Total 2009 41 75 25 3 0 1 1 2 5 1 154
January 1 3 1
February 7 3 2
March 4 3 0
April 5 4 0
May 7 9 1
June 5 3 1
July 4 5 1
Total 70 104 35 3 0 1 1 2 5 2 222

 

 

Abuse of Judicial process and Administrative Power

Withdrawal of Cases:

Government has requested annulment of more than seven thousand cases filed against the leaders and workers from Awami League. Moreover, another 10000 cases are sent to an appeal committee for consideration. The committee is arranged by home ministry for annulling cases meant for political harassment. Another 400 cases were dismissed by court which was filed against Awami leaders on 23rd April, 2011[69].

115 more cases against ruling party members were withdrawn on 13 March, as part of the continuous withdrawal of cases (terming them previously ‘politically motivated’). In the tenure of current government 6982 such cases have been withdrawn.162

On September 03, 2010, President Zillur Rahman granted clemency to 20 Awami League activists sentenced to death for murder. Earlier, Judge Firoze Alam of the Speedy Trial Tribunal of Dhaka had sentenced 21 people, including Naldanga Thana Awami League General Secretary SM Feroze on August 24, 2006 for murder of Jubo Dal leader Sabbir Hossain Gama, also a nephew of former BNP central leader Ruhul Kuddus Talukdar Dulu. On February 26, 2009, the Prime Minister declared a general amnesty for the BDR members who revolted, in order to quell the ongoing mutiny. Following this declaration, the BDR mutineers laid down their arms.[70]

On November 2nd, the Chief Justice directed the oath taking of the two newly appointed additional justices – Ruhul Quddus Babu and Shah Khasruzzaman. Previously, they were left out as they were convicted of killing and demolishment. Constitution to be published on December said by Law Minister with a view to change to its form which came into report in 24th November

War Crime Trial:

On 29th June 2010, the Police arrested Jamaat-e-Islami Ameer (Chief) Motiur Rahman Nizami, its Secretary General Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid, and Nayebe Ameer (Deputy Chief) Maulana Delawar Hossain Sayedee on charges of hurting Muslim religious sentiments. On 30th June 2010, when the arrested leaders of BJI were produced before the Magistrate, the Police immediately showed them ‘arrested’ in connection with about half a dozen cases and sought remand in connection with those cases. The Magistrate rejected the applications for bail by the Jamaat leaders and granted them remand for  various duration for interrogation by the Police.So far the Ameer was taken to police remand for a period of 19 days, the Deputy Ameer 28 days, the Secretary-General 22 days, and the two Assistant Secretary-Generals for 5 days each. And since then these top 5 leaders of Jamaat have been detained for the past 9 months without any charge framed against them and many of their human and legal rights have been violated.

Political leaders are being tortured in the custody. Jaamat Secretary General Ali Ahsan Mujahid and Nayebe Ameer (Vice-President) Maolana Delwar Hossian Sayedee alleged that they were tortured continuously for nine days during remand period and could not take rest due to the police-torture in custody.[71]

Following the arrest of the leaders of BJI, the Police has resorted to indiscriminate arrest of leaders and activists of BJI as well as Bangladesh Islami Chhatra Shibir. On 10th July 2010, at a press briefing, Islami Chattra Shibir Central President Md Rezaul  Karim stated that since 27th June 2010 Police had arrested 3 thousands 47 leaders and activists from all over the country, including 516 from Dhaka City, 355 from Chittagong, 75 from Khulna, 115 from Sylhet,  55 from Barisal and 305 from Rajshahi.

BNP top leader and Member of parliament SQ Chowdhury was arrested on charges of setting fire during hartal hours.[72] But after the arrest, the Home Minister said that “a war criminal is caught”[73]. Later BAL advisory body member Suronjit Sen Gupta MP said the SQ would be tried for inhuman activities in 1971[74] Later he was taken into remand for five days and his family[75] repeatedly said that he was brutally tortured[76]. SQ Chowdhury’s son said he is going to file a case against UK for training RAB personnel[77]. Later SQ Chowdhury was shown arrested in War Crimes tribunal[78] and sedition case was filed against him[79]. His bank account was scrutinized[80]. Amnesty international and US senator John Boozman said that these arrests are being politically motivated[81]

 

Dhaka City Jamaat e Islami President is re-arrested by the espionage branch of police in the jail gate after being released by the jail authorities. [82] Later he was taken into a 2 days fresh remand in connection with a case filed for preventing police from discharging their duties in front of National Press Club in the city.[83] Police arrested 9 activists of Jamaat including the Upazila Ameer of Jamaat in Ullapara during a regular meeting. They were arrested on suspicions of being involved in conspiracy against the Government.[84]

Police had detained 20 Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami men with Professor Mujibur Rahman (56), former Member of Parliament, Assistant Secretary General of Bangladesh Jamaat E Islmai Central committee and President of Sramik Kolyan Federation, from 1/J, 2/10, section-1, Kalwalapara of Mirpur-1 of the capital city Dhaka on 28 October, 2010. They were holding a special prayer at their Mirpur local office for Habibur Rahman, a party activist killed on October 28, 2006, by Awami League-led 14-party alliance. While special prayer was going on, police raided the office and arrested them without prior allegation and warrant of arrest. [85]

Many leaders of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami and Bangladesh Islami Chhatra Shibir were arrested during October 2010. Some 20 leaders and activists of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, including a former lawmaker and Khulna city unit Nayeb-e-Amir (Vice President), were arrested in the Dhaka’s Mirpur area on October 28.[86] The court rejected their prayer for bail and sent them to jail on charges of possessing explosives and bomb making materials.[87] Four activists of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami were arrested from Alexander Bazar under Ramgoti upazila on 30 October.[88] 6 Shibir leaders and activists were arrested at Kamrangir Char on 31 October. Police said that they were sticking posters on wall and distributing leaflet containing statements against the government.[89] 6 Shibir activists were granted 2 days remand on 1st November.[90]

On October 21, 2010 one more Jamaat activist was arrested in Jhenaidah while sticking poster on wall containing the message of the claim to free the 5 leaders including Ameer of Jamaat (party chief). On October 26, 2010 the police carried out a sudden raid on the Moghbazar central office of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami but did not arrest anybody or could not find anything worth seizure.

On September 1, police brought Central Social Welfare Secretary of Bangladesh Islami Chhatrashibir, Golam Mortaza, before the court. He was taken to unknown place by police after his arrest, leaving his family and friends in complete darkness about his whereabouts. Earlier he was kidnapped on 2 July from Dhanmondi of the capital by some men who claimed to be personnel from law enforcement agency. They didn’t provide any information regarding the presence and condition of Golam Mortuza. At last his parents held a press conference demanding information about his whereabouts. Even they filed a writ petition in this regard; after which the central leader was taken before court.

Malicious Prosecution

At least 2,000 villagers of Arial Bil Area have been accused of vandalism and torching vehicles at Shologhar point on the Dhaka-Mawa Highway in at least two cases lodged on 27 January with Srinagar police station in Munshiganj district. Arial Bil Raksha Committee convener Shahjahan Badal told  “The police and their collaborators have lodged at least four false cases against about 2,000 villagers to foil our protest program against the government’s move to build an airport on our ancestral cropland.”  The villagers are now gripped with the fear of being arrested any time as the Srinagar police have been patrolling the villages. [2]

A case was filed against Khondakar Mahbub hossain, president of Supreme Court bar at Rangpur by Chhatra Leadue leader Shahin Hossain for threatening the PM. The Chief Judicial Magistrate Court of Rangpur summoned Khandaker Mahbub Hossain to appear on January 30.[91] Another case was filed against 8 Jamaat leaders including acting Jamaat ameer (chief) by Chhatra League leader at Chittagong. They were accused of threatening to kill PM Sheikh Hasina.[92] Deputy Director of NBR filed a case against Jamaat leader Sayeedee for concealing information of income.[93]

The law enforcement agencies have created restriction on holding meeting by BNP in several occasions. On 30 October, police has forbidden to arrange any type of meeting in the residence of Mirza Fakhrul Islam, senior joint secretary general of BNP.[94] BNP and its associate bodies on Friday could not hold programs at least in three districts as the administration ordered ban on gathering to ‘stave-off untoward incident’ by imposing section 144 of CrPC. The places where Section 144 was imposed to stop political programs were Sailkupa in Jhenaidah, Mathbaria in Pirojpur and Katiadi in Kishoreganj.[95]

On 7th July 2010, one person died in Naogaon and more than 100 were injured across the country as the law enforcers attacked Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) activists who were participating peacefully in a ‘Human Chain’ to protest against government repression. The law enforcers picked up more than a hundred leaders and activists, including the party central leader Syed Moazzem Hossain Alal and the Jatiyatbadi Juba Dal President.

On 28 April, 2009, BNP’s Youth wing leader Ziaul Haq of Sreenagar, Munshiganj district was blindfolded, tied up and tortured by police. He was arrested by police over a land dispute. On June 11, 2009, Former MP Nasir Uddin Ahmed Pintu, who was arrested in connection with the Pilkhana killings case, alleged in Court that the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) had severely tortured him and threatened to kill him by ‘cross-fire’ if he did not make a confessional statement during remand.

The courts have been continuously refusing the bail of BNP leader Lutfozzaman Babar and Arafat Rahman Koko, son of the former PM Khaleda Zia. Former state minister for home Lutfozzaman Babar was brought to Chittagong Central Jail from Dhaka on 30 October to produce before a court in cases linked to the 10-truck arms haul in Chittagong in 2004.[96] He was given on 5 day remand on the same case on 1st November.[97] In a case of money laundering, bail appeal was denied and warrant was issued to arrest Koko who is now released under parole for medical treatment.[98]

On 2nd November RAB-police presence at Khaleda’s residence spread buzz about her eviction from the house & also the attempt to arrest Salahuddin Qader Chowdhury, the lawmaker and International affairs secretary of BNP.1 On 6th November it was reported that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had asked Khaleda Zia to leave her cantonment house & also asked her party followers to start person-to-person campaign against what she said ‘falsehood being dished out by the BNP-Jamaat axis’.2 On 9th November, PM requested Khaleda to leave the residence following the verdict against her. She said, 200-250 offices can be built in that house and so Khaleda should leave to solve problems of accommodation.3 On 11th November the Chief Justice, ABM Khairul Haque, denied entry into the courtroom by journalists who went to the Supreme Court in the KHALEDA CASE HEARING.4 On 13th November, police and plainclothesmen evicted BNP chairperson and leader of the opposition, Khaleda Zia, from 6 Shaheed Mainul Road house where she had been living since 1972.5 On 26th November a case was filed against Khaleda on charges of money laundering by ACC.

There had been numerous incidents of foiling processions of the main opposition party BNP in different places. Police foiled BNP’s rally using batons and firing several rounds of blank shots at Uttar Bazar in Sitakunda[99]. In a similar incidence Police and BCL cadres foiled a rally of BNP injuring 11 activists of the party at Gournadi upazila town in Barisal.[100] In another incident at least 20 activists of the BNP were injured as the police charged baton on a BNP procession at Madhabdi in Narsingdi.[101]

Police arrested a number of BNP activists on different charges and there is allegation that most of these arrests are random and politically motivated. A Rab-8 team at Patuakhali camp arrested Abdur Rob Howlader, president of Bangladesh Krishak Dal district unit, also former chairman of Utbaria union parishad under Sadar upazila[102]. At least 6 Bangladesh Nationalist Party activists were arrested at Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal office at Bahaddarhat in Chittagong when they were preparing to bring out a procession demanding release of lawmaker Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury and to drum up support for the next day’s half-day hartal in the Greater Chittagong[103]. In another incident 6 BNP activists shown arrest in 6 different cases including killing, deceit, hijack and attack on a local newspaper office at Noakhali.[104] A Jubodal leader was arrested in allegation of torching a vehicle in Comilla[105]. Sk Sirajul Islam, UP chairman of Dhorkhar union of Akhaura, B Baria and Selim Apu, Vice president of upazilla Chhatradal has been arrested by police[106] A Jubodal leader was arrested in Rajbari. [107] Chhatradal president of Srimangal upazilla of Moulavibazar, Niyamul Hoq Tarafdar, has been arrested by police. He is accused of stealing oil, case filed by JTCL in 2005[108]

There had been numerous case filed against BNP activists. Three BNP leaders and two others were sued for trespassing into the VIP lounge of Shahjalal International Airport prior to BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia’s departure for China[109]. The police are hunting for BNP joint secretary general Amanullah Aman, its international affairs secretary Nazimuddin Alam and Swechchasebok Dal president Habibun Nabi Sohel after the civil aviation authority sued them on Sunday night on charge of assaulting police at the VIP lounge of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport.[110] At least 150 BNP men were sued on charge of obstructing police duty by attacking the law enforcrs in the morning in Panchagarh town[111]. BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia’s youngest son, Arafat Rahman, and former shipping minister Akbar Hossain’s son, Ismail Hossain Saimon, were charged with money laundering.[112] Case was also filed against 32 BNP leader and activists in the incidence of AL leader’s death at Lalmanirhat[113]

On 19th March 2010, members of RAB arrested Md. Akbar Ali Sardar, a businessman and Bipin Chandra Sarkar of the same village. Both of them were picked up by RAB from the road in front of the Salendar Bissho Islami Mission mosque. Although Bipin Sarkar was released by RAB at 10.00 am on March 20, 2010, the whereabouts of Akbar are still unknown. The Police of the Thakurgaon Police Station have so far rejected attempts made by Akbar’s family to file a General Diary (GD) or lodge an FIR.

Fazlul Haque Amini, chairman of an Islami Oikya Jote (IOJ) faction, claimed that plain-clothes law enforcers picked up his son at morning from Sutrapur in the capital. He said, all law enforcement agencies are now denying that they have his son. “They picked up my son in front of two of his friends,” said Amini, adding, “I am not sure whether Rab or the police took my son. I do not know why they picked him up and where are they keeping him.” Amini told the media.[114]

In Shayestaganj, a man was jailed for a week without any reason. He was innocent and no charges were brought against him. This man was suspected to be a counterfeiter. Court ordered his release, but this lack of sense of police was rebutted by media[115].

A countrywide dawn to dusk general strike called by BNP on June 27, 2010, was marred with violence, arrest of BNP activists and baton charges by the police. During the general strike RAB raided the residence of Mirza Abbas after his arrest. Afroza Abbas, his wife, alleged that some plain-clothed and armed people in the presence of RAB entered their house by breaking the main gate and beat the inmates indiscriminately which left at least 50 injured. Furthermore, furniture and other belongings had been ransacked and old women were also beaten up by them.

Referring to police action at BNP standing Committee member Mirza Abbas’s home, former Law minister and a leading Awami League leader advocate Abdul Matin Khasru said he was shocked and ashamed of it as he saw the TV footage in news telecast. In fact RAB personnel carried out the violence inside his home destroying family artifacts and beating women including his old mother who was then over 75 years of age. But Home Minister advocate Sahara Khatun simply downplayed this action saying she was not aware of anything, although all TV channels repeatedly showed the footage of the violence throughout the day. Five BNP influential leaders including Mirza Abbas, 12 female party activists including ward councilors were among 167 persons whom police, RAB and special branch officials took to custody on the day.”[116]

On September 18, 2010, leaders and activists of the Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) and Jubo League foiled the recruitment examinations for the posts of office assistant of the deputy commissioner’s (DC) office. At least 15 people including additional Deputy Commissioner Bijoy Bhusan Pal and some students and teachers were injured in the attack. The unruly activists also vandalized at least five vehicles of district and divisional administration and the examination centers. They demanded the appointment of their party activists in the mentioned posts.

In Kuliachar, public administrative officers made a human-chain on protesting Awami leaders’ intervention to administrative works. Later the human chain was foiled by Juba League men. Locals said that the UNO postponed government funding on development projects and freedom fighters’ funds that is why a conflict between Awami men and UNO went on[117]. Ex-president of Dhaka district BCL (Bangladesh Chhatra League) M. A. Taher has threatened and abused Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) of Keranigonj and other four government employees.164

On September 19, 2010, Pabna District unit Awami League (AL) and its associate bodies gave an eight-day ultimatum to the authorities concerned for removal of the deputy commissioner (DC) and additional deputy commissioner (ADC Revenue) of the district. They also protested against the cases filed by the district administration against some of their leaders in connection with the previous attack on the two schools that halted the DC office staff recruitment examinations. They threatened to go for a tougher agitation if DC AFM Monjur Kadir and ADC Imam Uddin Kabir are not removed by September 27. The Government, on 1st October, 2010 withdrew the two officials from Pabna and made them officers on special duty (OSDs) on the incident of attacking Government officers by district administration clerks in liaison with ruling party men on September 18.

In Shingra, a conflict between to councilors led to deterred government officials from working normally. Two sides with their own men were attempting take over each other. Such a conflict instigated from pipe supply for some construction work[118]. In Shamnagar of Sathkhira OC (officer-in-charge) & inspector (investigation) were transferred from the police station after local Awami League (AL) threatened to siege the police station.[119]

On 29 September 2010, DC and SP of Pabna district were moved and the OC of Sadar Thana was suspended due to their inaction during an attack that foiled a recruitment test at the district Deputy Commissioner’s office. Moreover, TNO of Pabna Sadar Thana was transferred to Monpura under the district Bhola followed by two suspension of two other sub-inspector of police. However, they were only the victims of the incident.

As many as six secretaries, 30 additional secretaries and 240 other Government officials are now working as officer on special duty (OSD) for different reasons. Of the 240 officials, 162 are joint secretaries while 78 deputy secretaries. On November 26 the report says Pro-Pakistani and Jamaat will not get promotion said by H T Imam, one of the advisor to the Prime Minister.4 On 25th November it was published that conditions to get admitted in 10 disciplines at DU & Authority does not wish to follow the rule of High Court which is defamation to the court said Barrister Abdur Razzak.3 On November 26 the report says Pro-Pakistani and Jamaat will not get promotion said by H T Imam, one of the advisor to the Prime Minister.

Limon Incident

The loss of the left leg of an innocent college student by a Rab shootout baffled the whole nation in last month. The incident was one out of numerous others where we saw political opponents were being victimized and mass arrest took place while in all cases law enforcing agencies took the role of oppressor. Such manipulation of administrative power eventually harms the spirit of democracy and justice.

Director General of Rapid Action Battalion Mokhlesur Rahman said Limon Hossain is the victim of a ‘shootout’ between RAB and criminals. The college student lost his left leg in RAB ‘crossfire’ while he was on his way to bring his cows back home at Chhaturia village in Rajapur of the district on March 23.[120]

Police is yet to record Limon’s mother Henoara Begum’s case against six members of Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) on charge of maiming Limon although nine days have passed after a Jhalakathi court issued an order to register the case.[121]

Members of the Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) are trying to “brand” college student Limon Hossain as a criminal even after the force’s chief told the media that the 16-year-old is not a criminal rather a victim of ‘shootout’, Limon’s family said.[122] Mother of Limon, a college student who became disabled in a Rapid Action Battalion shootout, filed a case with a Jhalakathi court against six members of RAB.  Henoara Begum filed the petition case with Senior Judicial Magistrate’s Court. Earlier, Police failed to register the case even under the order of Court showing the cause that “police officials were so busy”. Chairman of Human Rights Commission visited Limon at hospital and demanded justice for him[123].

Home Minister Shahara Khatun opposed the formation of a parliamentary sub-committee to investigate the shooting of Rajapur College student Limon in Jhalokathi by the Rapid Action Battalion. At a meeting of the parliamentary standing committee on home ministry, Jatiya party lawmaker Mojibul Haque Chunnu proposed that a sub-committee be formed to investigate the incident. But, the home minister opposed the proposal saying that six committees had already been constituted to look into the incident.[124]

 

Bangladesh Police ransacks opposition party offices frequently. In November police several times attacked Jamaat office and on 15th December police raided Bangladesher Samajtantrik Dal (BSD) office in the capital looking for labor leaders suspected of instigating apparel workers’ unrest at Kuril in the capital in recent times.[125]

There had been a number of incidents where it is found that the administration dealt with the Jamaat activists being politically motivated. At least 35 local leaders and workers of Jamaat were arrested after a clash with police that left about 20 wounded including 8 policemen.[126] Police appealed that Delwar Hossain Sayeedi to be kept in custody before the formal charge is formed.[127] Investigators petitioned before the International Crimes Tribunal to keep Jamaat-e-Islami leader Delwar Hossain Sayedee detained till completion of the investigation into war crimes allegations against him[128]. The High Court summarily rejected the petition four top leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh had filed for quashing the war crimes proceedings for which they were held in custody[129]

On the 27th of December 2010, two more cases were filed against the TIB chief in Chittagong & Comilla.1 High court ordered the documents used for the survey on the 29th of the month.2 On January 11, a case was filed against Dr. Yunus’s Grameen danone Ltd. in accusation of food adulteration.3 On 14th, it came into report that hearing of the case filed against the officials of the TIB will be held on 20th of the same month.4

Speaker Abdul Hamid rejected all 144 notices submitted by Opposition MPs demanding discussions in parliament on various issues including deterioration of law and order and soaring prices of essentials. Hamid also said, the lawmakers who had submitted the notices, will be able to speak on those when they participate in the discussion on thanks-giving motion on the president’s speech, he added. A total of 11 MP’s belonging to BNP-led opposition had submitted.[130]

The government has removed Dr. Yunus from his post in Grameen Bank on the ground of over age. Lord Avebury, vice-chair of the UK Parliamentary Human Rights Group, has said the recent removal of Grameen Bank founder Muhammad Yunus by the government from his post raises serious concerns about the creeping politicisation of development work and civil society in Bangladesh. In a joint statement in London issued on March 11 supported by some British MPs and academics, they said the microcredit approach to poverty reduction pioneered by  Yunus was an important innovation in the fight against poverty.[131]

Assault on Media and Freedom of Expression

According to Article 39, the right of every citizen to freedom of thought and conscience, speech and expression is guaranteed. In March 2009, the government imposed censorship on the browsing of some websites, including YouTube.com. The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission also prohibited the surfing of some websites on the pretext of protecting ‘national security’. However, the government did not specify the nature of the information which was forbidden on the ground of ‘national security’.

Despite the rhetoric of ‘Digital Bangladesh’, on May 29, 2010, the Bangladesh government blocked access to Facebook. The decision came after the arrest of Mahbub Alam Rodin following his uploading of satiric images of some leading politicians, including the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition.

The Government’s intention to repress the free press is best exemplified in the Amar Desh episode. Last year, the Daily Amar Desh published a report alleging involvement of Dr. Toufique-E-Elahi, the Energy Adviser and Sajib Wajed Joy, son of the Prime Minister in sanctioning execution of contracts amounting to Taka 3.7 billion for establishing Gas Compressors in exchange for bribes. Leaders and activist of the ruling party filed 22 defamation cases against Mr. Mahmudur Rahman, the Acting Editor of the Daily newspaper. Mr. Mahmudur Rahman appeared before the High Court and obtained bail in all the cases filed against him. However, on 1st June 2010, the Government cancelled the press declaration of the newspaper and arrested Mr. Mahmudur Rahman on the same day. Subsequently, Mr. Rahman was shown arrested in a number of criminal cases and was taken on remand by the Police for interrogation. Although, the Supreme Court in a recent landmark decision has paved the way for resumption of publication of the Daily Amar Desh, Mr. Mahmudur Rahman remains in custody, as he is yet to be granted bail in all the criminal cases filed against him.

On December 17, 2009, Amar Desh Acting Editor Mahmudur Rahman was openly threatened by the Agriculture Minister and Presidium Member of the Awami League (AL), Matia Chowdhury; the State Minister for LGRD and Organising Secretary of the Awami League, Jahangir Kabir Nanak and Joint General Secretary of the Awami League, Mahabub-ul Alam Hanif, at a discussion meeting organized on the occasion of victory day, December 16, over a news report published in the daily Amar Desh against Sajib Wajed Joy, son of the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Dr. Toufique-E-Elahi, the Energy Adviser, about sanctioning work amounting to Taka 3.7 billion for establishing Gas Compressors without bids and in exchange of bribes. It was alleged that, as a result of this report, an attack took place on December 19, 2009, on M Abdullah, Special Correspondent of the daily Amar Desh and his car was damaged. The attack occurred while he was coming to his office from his residence at Tongi. Police refused to accept his complaint. Local Awami League leaders filed a number of defamation cases in Dhaka, Natore, Khulna, Jessore, Khagrachari, Jamalpur, Narail, Sirajganj, Pabna, Chittagong, Joypurhat and Magura against Amar Desh.

On January 31, 2009, a group of journalists from different national daily newspapers and the electronic media were denied permission to enter Parliament to cover two meetings of the Special Committee and the House Committee, even after showing their seasonal passes and accreditation cards to the security personnel. Asadullah Chowdhury, a deputy sergeant, told the journalists that they had a ‘special order’ from the Speaker of the Jatiya Sangsad (National Parliament) not to allow journalists to enter into the Parliament building unless the Parliament was in session.

A report was published by Mass Media Centre (MMC) which shows that a total of five journalists were killed and 335 victimized in different sorts of repression last year.[132]

On April 13, 2009, the supporters of Gias Uddin, a Member of Parliament of the ruling party elected from Gaforgaon, Mymensingh, attacked and severely injured Abdullah Al-Amin Biplob, a district correspondent of the Daily Shamokal following a news report criticising the MP’s activities. Biplob’s hands and legs were fractured. On September 1, 2009, in reaction to a report published in the daily Amar Desh against the Awami League MP of Chuadanga, Solayman Huq Joardar and his brother Municipal Mayor Reazul Islam, the activists of Chattra League and Jubo League attacked and ransacked the ‘Janata Store’ owned by Ariful Islam Dalim, the Chuadanga representative of the daily Amar Desh. The activists then set fire to the store using petrol and burnt copies of Amar Desh. In the evening, the activists of Chattra League and Jubo League went to Dalim’s house and assaulted its inhabitants, including his wife and children.

On December 6, 2009, Abdul Jabbar, a representative of the daily Amar Desh in Puthia, Rajshahi, was abducted by local Jubo League activists and taken to an unknown place by a group of 8-10 persons.

On October 22, 2009, a Staff Reporter of New Age, F M Masum was arrested by the RAB from his rented house at Jatrabari and tortured. Officers of RAB-10 in plain clothes went to the house rented by Masum. Upon their arrival they called on Masum to open the main collapsible gate. Flight Lt. Anisur Rahman led the other RAB officers to beat Masum because he delayed in opening the gate. When Masum told them that he was a journalist, the RAB officers tied up his hands and legs and beat him even more. Later on, the RAB officers took injured Masum to RAB-10 office where they locked him up in a small room and tortured him further.

A private television channel, Channel 1 was shut down by the Government on April 27, 2010. A three-member team of the Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission led by S M Shahiduzzaman, Director (Legal and Licensing) went to the Channel 1 office at Uday Tower in Gulshan and switched off its transmission on the ground that it used rented broadcasting equipment. The Post and Telecommunications Minister Rajiuddin Ahmed Raju said that Channel 1 had mortgaged its broadcasting equipment although the telecommunications law prohibited the transfer of frequency ownership and broadcasting equipment. As the owners failed to pay back the loan, its broadcasting equipment had been auctioned. Meanwhile Channel 1 authority claimed that the bank auctioned its equipment and a company won the bid, although the auction winner had not yet made the payment. Thus the channel still owned the equipment. The channel had more than 400 staff, including journalists, technicians and administrative officials.

Two journalists Shibly Chowdhury Kayes and Anwar Hossain of nation’s prominent Diganta Television were attacked by terrorist at trade fair centre of Dhaka. These journalists went to collect news of meal facilities among trade fair area, and then a group of terrorists attacked them. Consequently, they were physically assaulted and injured.

Arrest warrant were promulgated against the editor of The Daily Kaler Kanta, a prominent news paper of Bangladesh along  with publishers Mostafa Kamal Mohiuddin and crime reporter Pervez Khan by Jaypurhat Judicial Magistrate Court.[133] Local correspondent of The Daily Kaler Kantha at Mirorsorai upzilla threatened by BCL (a government back political student wing) leader. Earlier this correspondent published news which reflected the unruly activities of BCL leaders.[134] A case was filed against the local correspondent of The Daily Sangram at Borlekha upzilla. Local leaders of BAL filed this case.[135] A group of journalists protested the attacked of police to the journalists in Barishal. Earlier police tortured 4 jounalistes, while they were covering their assignment.[136]

Police vandalized the protest rally of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami at Bagha upzilla of Rajshahi. As the part of central program, they were trying to bring out a rally, but police stopped it.[137]

A prominent Journalist and his wife were hacked to death on Friday by unknown assailants at Naya Paltan in the capital at 27th January. The deceased were identified as Forhad Khan, 60, a senior assistant editor of the Daily Janata, and his wife Rahima Begum, 55. [138]

Table 5: Attack on Media personnel: 2009-July 2010[139]

Monty Killed Injured Assaulted Attacked Arrested Abducted Threatened Sued Other Violence Total
January 13 2 2 0 0 3 0 8 28
February 1 2 1 0 0 2 0 0 6
March 4 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 6
April 7 4 0 0 0 8 0 0 19
May 9 0 2 0 0 23 0 0 34
June 7 1 2 0 1 2 0 1 14
July 1 4 1 6 0 0 2 3 0 17
August 1 2 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 6
September 6 11 2 0 0 5 10 4 38
October 1 9 10 0 0 0 12 1 2 35
November 9 4 1 0 0 8 2 3 27
December 13 9 0 1 1 5 7 0 36
Total 3 84 45 16 1 2 73 23 19 266
Attack on Media personnel: January- July 2010
January 18 1 5 1
February 14 8 2 8 1
March 6 8 7 13
April 1 1 8 3 5
May 1 6 4 1 3 1
June 7 2 1 1
July 1 3 3
Total 2 53 35 15 1 38 2 1 147

 

In Manikganj, AL cadres attacked journalists as they reported minority abuse in the newspaper.[140] Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) activists vandalized and set a room on fire of four journalists at Shahparan Hall of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST). The BCL men broke open the lock of the room no-205, damaged it, and set fire to equipment including two computers worth over Tk 1 lakh, said the victims. The journalists are Asgar Khan of Dainik Dinkal, Shah Sabuj of Dainik Janata, MU Shimul of Dainik Jalalabad, and Abdul Majid of Sylheter Dak.[141]

Two separate cases were filed against the Editors of two popular Newspapers in Bangladesh. One of them was Shafiq Rehman of Mouchake Dhil and the other was Alamgir Mohiuddin of Naya Diganta. One case was filed by senior vice president of Awami Ulama legue Lion Maolana Md Abu Bakr Siddik. Both of these cases were filed accusing them of profanity against Prophet Muhammad (SA). Though, no further clearance was given by the Ulama[142]

A journalist, Jasim Reza, was severely beaten up by Chhatra League cadres in Jagannath University (JnU) on 22 March. Jasim had gone to the campus to collect the news of the clash that occurred between two rival groups of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL).[143]

At Sripur Press Club in Gazipur, a journalist was beaten up and later his family threatened with murder. No one was arrested in this attack. A case was filed. Locals said the journalist had a long standing dispute with an Awami leader over a piece of land[144]. In Sylhet, two rounds were fired at a journalist’s resident. Two windows were shattered. The firing occurred at midnight. Police could not name any suspect.[145] In Jaflong, Sylhet, a Khashia leader filed a case against a journalist and 3 others for threatening her. She said to reporters that she owns a quarry. The alleged people had threatened her with grabbing the quarry[146].

In Roumary, 4 journalists were assaulted by BCL men. The journalist had reported in a daily news paper, which had featured the gambling and drug business owned by Awami leaders. BCL men also threatened the journalists with murder.[147] A teacher from Rajshahi University was beaten up by BCL on National Children’s Day. The teacher had captured a video on his video camera of BCL men exchanging garlands. The BCL men beat him up and took his camera. Police recovered him from the spot but his camera was lost[148].

Local correspondents of The Daily Amardesh and Daily Dinkal of Lalmonirhat district were faced threats of death by terrorists. Concerning two correspondents accused government back political party activists were doing such evil act. (The Daily Sangram, 13.10)

The Authority of Khulna University closed its press club. Earlier they expelled journalist from university due to report publishing against the authority. (The Daily Amardesh, 17.10)

During September, 2010 the ruling party activist and some miscreants vandalized 7 local offices of different electronic and print media. On September 1, local office of The Daily Prothom Alo in Pabna was vandalized by some miscreants and equipments were ransacked. And on September 7 during midnight, Bureau offices of six private television channels were vandalized by some miscreants in Rajshahi town.

Journalists had to face 7 cases filed against them by political activists in September, 2010. A defamation case was filed in a court on September 2 against Inqilab Editor AMM Bahauddin and other two journalists from News Editor, Mizanur Rahman Bhuiyan and Staff Reporter, Shamim Siddiqui. Religious Affairs Secretary of district Awami League and businessman Mohammad Israfil Hossain filed the case in Senior Judicial Magistrate’s Court.  And on September 23,  Rajshai City Mayor, A H M Khairuzzaman Liton filed a case against the acting Editor of Daily Amardesh, Mahmudur Rahman, Publisher, Hashmot Ali and its local reporter due to an earlier published report.

On September 2, the Rajshahi University correspondent of The Daily Star was assaulted by an activist of Bangladesh Chhatra League for reports on some offenses committed by the BCL men of RU unit. 4 journalists were physically assaulted in Comilla by the activist of BAL On September 2.

On September 17, Ruling party activists beat up New Age staff correspondent in Khulna.  On September 18, The Chittagong University Journalist Association brought out a silent procession on the campus, protesting the attack on Vice-President of the association Omar Faruque . Rangpur correspondent of The Daily Jugantor was wounded by an attacker on September 21.

22 Sept, 5 Lawmakers and 2 Ministers of the ruling party rudely condemned the published news and overall functioning of 3 daily news papers in National parliament which is contradictory to the norms of the house.

On September 22, four journalists sent to jail in an extortion case at Naogaon when they appeared before the court allegedly involved in extortion.[149]

On September 27, the advisor of Prime Minister, H T Imam, accused media to exaggerate the news of assaulting Pabna district officials.

Journalist and his wife were hacked to death on Friday by unknown assailants at Naya Paltan in the capital & the deceased were identified as Forhad Khan, 60, a senior assistant editor of the Daily Janata, and his wife Rahima Begum, 55. [150]

Denial of Freedom Association and Expression

The Opposition political parties, Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami (BJI) have been repeatedly prevented from exercising their constitutionally guaranteed fundamental right to protest against the government’s failure to secure the basic needs of the ordinary people. On 27th June 2010, the BNP called a general strike (hartal) to protest against the failure of the Government to ensure adequate supply of water and electricity. The Police, aided by members of the Bangladesh Chhatra League, the student wing of the ruling party, attacked and seriously injured leaders and activists of BNP participating in the peaceful strike. Mirza Abbas, a member of BNP’s Standing Committee, Shahiduddin Chowdhury Annie, a Member of Parliament and Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury, Vice- Chairperson of BNP and a former Ambassador to the US were arrested by the police from different parts of Dhaka city.

BNP activists injured along with two journalists in reasoning with the attack of ruling party BAL in two districts namely Tagorgaon and vola. Earlier (two days) ago municipal election were held in these districts. Sources mentioned these as the violence of post municipal election period.[151] Police banned the worker meeting of prime opponent party BNP at Savar. Party sources informed the media that police protested their earlier announced program without proper justification.[152]

Police foiled a discussion program at the Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami office in Barisal. The party arranged a discussion program at their office in Sadar Road duly informing police and administration. But police unruly banned their program and arrested 5 activists of the party.[153]

BCL backed terrorists attacked on a rally of their opponent BJCD at Narail Victoria College. Consequently 5 more students and party activists injured and sent to hospitals.[154] BCL activist in Rajshahi University unit attacked on a group of general students, those were protesting the decision of university authority, as it earlier decided to raise meal charge of canteen.[155]

Police stopped the activists of Democratic Revolutionary Party who were marching towards the Prime Minister’s office to hand over a memorandum to PM Sheikh Hasina demanding release of the detained General Secretary of the party and garment labour leader Mushrefa Mishu. Police stopped the marchers in front of the High Court building.171 In Patgram, police attacked and injusred 5 Chhatra Dal men from Lalmonirhat at a demonstration demanding emancipation of their leader, GS of Lalmonirhat Chhatra Dal.[156].

Police foiled a human chain formed by Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD) at Rajshahi University (RU) to raise fund for helping JCD activist who was severely stabbed by Chhatra League (BCL) men on February 8.[157] Police charged a peaceful rally brought out by Ulamas (Islamic scholars) in Companyganj with batons. Police arrested 5 men from the spot[158].

In Rajshahi, joint council of Ulamas brought about a rally and police attacked their demonstration after Friday’s midday prayer. 15 of the demonstrators were injured during the clash. In Rupganj, farmers arranged a human chain to resist filling cultivable land by Dhaka Village Housing. BCL men attacked their demonstration and left 10 farmers injured. No cases were filed on this attack[159].

The local administration in Rajbari distric stopped 2 Tafsirul Quran program, as part of a string of resistance against Tafsir programs while Drama, Circus, Carnival, Erotic Dance, Concert are allowed. In Shatkhira, police shut down a Quran Recitation program arranged by an organization named ‘Tafsirul Quran’. Police said that they attempted to close the program because Jamaat leaders were invited to attend that program.[160] Police stopped another Tafsirul Quran Mahfil (a religious gathering where scholars talk about the Qur’anic teachings) in Bagha Upazila of Rajshahi district. [161] At least 30 people during an attack on a Tafsir Mehfil (religious function) at Solua Degree College ground in Charghat upazila.[162]

A human chain arranged in favor of Grameen Bank was crushed by Chhatra League Cadres in Barisal on 10 March. The incident occurred when the students of Barisal Bajra Mohon (BM) University College were trying to stand, opposing Government interference in Grameen Bank.[163]

35 leaders and activists of Islami Shashontontra Andolon (ISA) are severely injured in Feni in a clash with policemen. Police arrested 21 activists of Islami Shashontontra Andolon. The activists and leaders of ISA had brought out a procession demanding cancellation of anti Islamic laws of the Government.[164]

Police foiled a human chain formed in protest against the ban on Fatwa. The human chain was set to be held outside the High Court. Furthermore more than hundreds of activists were arrested. This program was declared by the Islamic Law Implementation Committee. After the declaration of the program, that morning police interrogated every man wearing an Islamic Cap. Dhaka city president of the committee told that their program was completely peaceful, but police was arresting everyone who was trying to organize the human chain.[165]

 

On April 05, 2011 Central Jamat-E-Islami called a demonstration followed by rally at Muktangon of Dhaka in protesting the torture, remand, injustice by the present Government on its detained top leaders. Police attacked the peaceful procession of Bangladesh Jamat-E-Islami at Paltan area of the capital city, Dhaka. They held more than 50 Jamat-men and other wayfarers and Musullis[166], after hitting them with rubber bullet, teargas shell, hot colored water, stick etc. The total Paltan area turned into a war-like situation and general people witnessed the brutality of police against the democratic rights of a political party.[167]

On 1st and 2nd March 2009, at least 31 members of Hizb-ut-Tahrir Bangladesh were arrested from different areas across the country, including Dhaka , while distributing leaflets. Members of Hizb-ut-Tahrir Bangladesh distributed leaflets with the headline “Resist the Indian Plot to Destroy the Army-BDR and Protest against Government Inaction”. Members of the Hizb-ut-Tahrir were shown arrested under Section 54 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and later criminal cases were filed against them under sections 153A and 505 of the Penal Code. Meanwhile, on March 27, 2009, the Police baton charged members of the Hizb-ut Tahrir, who had gathered near the Baitul Mokarram mosque in Dhaka to demand the release of their detained members. More than 50 members were wounded and 10 were arrested. On 9 May 2009, a police force from Badda Police Station arrested seven members of the Hizb-ut-Tahrir during a political programme.

On 26th March 2011, the Independence Day of Bangladesh, members of Bangladesh Islami Chhatra Shibir gathered in Kakrail nightingle intersection of the capital for joining the colorful rally arranged as a part of their countrywide programs to celebrate the glorious national Independence Day. Surprisingly, all on a sudden police attacked the rally.[168] They baton charged the attendees and used tear shell to distract them. However, Shibir activists soon reorganized and resumed the rally. The rally then passed along Kakrail and ended in Shantinagar where the leaders addressed the gathering.[169]

Police attacked the gathering of students once again from behind without any inducement.[170] This time police attacked the crowd more violently and fired rounds of tear shell and rubber bullets. Police also beat everyone on the spot indiscriminately with wooden sticks and kicked the attendees to disperse the assembly. Panicked students and passersby started to run in different directions and many took shelter in various shops. Police forcefully entered there and kept beating the activists of Shibir mercilessly. Even journalists and passers-by were not spared by the police.[171] No sooner had the attack taken place, two more platoons of riot police joined the attack. They searched every shop from Shantinagar to Shantibag looking for Shibir activists.[172] More than hundred activists of Shibir were severely injured. Police also seized 4 motorbikes from the rally.

On August 24, 2009, the Government decided to enter into Production Sharing Contracts (PSC) with Conoco Phillips and Tallow Oil, whereby the contracting companies could commence oil exploration at three sites in the Bay of Bengal, and consequently give scope for 80% of the extracted oil to be exported. In protest of this decision and demanding that the Government not enter into such a contract, the National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports organized a procession with a view to surround the Petro Bangla office on September 2, 2009. It was alleged that the police tried to prevent its advance and also attacked the procession. Member-Secretary of the National Committee, Professor Anu Mohammad; General Secretary of the Biplobi Workers Party, Saiful Huq, along with about 70 others, were injured due to the baton-charge by the police. 30-35 persons were severely wounded to develop the power sector of Bangladesh along with a growth of the readymade garments sector.

The attacks on a peaceful procession that took a stand against an anti-State decision taken by the Government was trying to establish the sovereign rights of the people over their country’s resources, is a clear violation of the democratic and constitutional rights of the citizens and is an example of violence inflicted by the State. According to Articles 38 and 39 of the Constitution of Bangladesh, any citizen of the State is guaranteed the right to engage in a procession in a peaceful manner.

Political Oppression & Harassment

Case – 01

A countrywide dawn to dusk general strike called by BNP on June 27, 2010, was marred with violence, arrest of BNP activists and baton charges by the police. During the general strike a clash took place between the activists of Awami League-backed Chhatra League and activists of biggest opposition BNP at Shahbagh area of the city. Furthermore, incidents of police chases occurred between police and supporters of BNP at Kaptan Bazar, Mohakhali Wireless Gate and Shahjahanpur. 167 picketers, including BNP’s Standing Committee Member Mirza Abbas, Parliament Member Shahiduddin Chowdhury Annie and Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury, Vice- Chaiperson of BNP were arrested by police from different parts of Dhaka city. RAB raided the residence of Mirza Abbas after his arrest. Afroza Abbas, his wife, alleged that some plain clothed and armed people in the presence of RAB entered into their house by breaking the main gate and beat the inmates indiscriminately which left at least 50 injured. Furthermore, furniture and other belongings had been ransacked and old women were also beaten up by them.

Law enforcing agencies especially RAB and police severely tortured household people in the residence of BNP standing committee member Mirza Abbas on June 27. Referring to police action at BNP standing Committee member Mirza Abbas’s home on ‘hartal’ day former Law minister and a leading Awami League leader advocate Abdul Matin Khasru said he was shocked and ashamed of it as he saw the TV footage in news telecast. In fact RAB personnel carried out the violence inside his home destroying family artifacts and beating women including his old mother now over 75. Suranjit Sen Gupta also took exception to such brutalities when many other critics tend to equate the RAB action with that of the dreaded ‘Rakkhi Bahihi’ which Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had set up in early 1970s to destroy the opposition JSD that time. But home minister advocate Sahara Khatun simply downplayed the RAB action saying she was not aware of it although all TV channels repeatedly showed the footage of the violence throughout the day. Five BNP influential leaders including Mirza Abbas, 12 female party activists including ward councilors were among 167 persons whom police, RAB and special branch officials took to custody on the day.” (Faisal Rahim, AL’s politics of vengeance, brutalities, Holiday: 2nd July, 2010

Case – 02

On 29 June 2010 Police arrested three top Jamaat leaders; Ameer-e-Jamaat Mawlana Motiur Rahman Nizami (Nizami), Naib-e- Ameer Mawlana Delwar Hossain Saydee (Saydee) and Secretary General Ali Ahsan Mujahid (Mujahid) in connection with a case of hurting religious sentiment (CR 1012/12)[1] and kept them in the Detective Branch (DB) office where the Jamaat leaders had to spend all night on the floor with nothing except two pieces of blanket each. They were denied access to their lawyers and family members despite repeated request to the authority.

On 13th July, Jamaat assistant secretary generals, Mr. Kamaruzzaman and Mr. Abdul Kader Molla (Molla) went to the High Court in order to obtain anticipatory bail in connection with some cases. The Attorney General office sought time and accordingly, the Court adjourned the hearing of anticipatory bail for a day and ordered the government not to arrest or harass them until the hearing. Nonetheless, the police arrested them both while exiting the Supreme Court premises. The lawyers of Kamaruzzaman and Molla produced the lawyers’ certificates of court order to the police who replied that there were plenty of other cases awaiting the Jamaat leaders. Later the police showed them arrest in connection with another case.Pallabi PS case no 60(1)08.[2]

And since then these top 5 leaders of Jamaat have been detained for 9 months without any charge framed against them and many of their human and legal rights have been violated.

Political leaders are being tortured in the custody. Jaamat Secretary General Ali Ahsan Mujahid and Nayebe Ameer (Vice-President) Maolana Delwar Hossian Sayedee alleged that they were tortured continuously for nine days during remand period and could not take rest due to the torture of police in custody. (The Daily Nayadiganta, 11/07/2010) About one thousand leaders and activists of opposition were arrested and detained in last 16 days.

Case – 03

Police had detained 20 Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami men with Professor Mujibur Rahman (56), former Member of Parliament, Assistant Secretary General of Bangladesh Jamaat E Islmai Central committee and President of Sramik Kolyan Federation, from 1/J, 2/10, section-1, Kalwalapara of Mirpur-1 of the capital city Dhaka on 28 October, 2010. A 3 days police remand had been granted for these 19 arrested Jamaat-men by the Court on 29 October 2010. These Jamaat men were holding a special prayer at their Mirpur local office for Habibur Rahman, a party activist killed on October 28, 2006, by Awami League-led 14-party alliance. While special prayer was going on, Police raided the office and held them without prior allegation and warrant of arrest. [173]

Case – 04

BNP alleges that long time disappeared BNP leader Chowdhury Alam was abducted by the government.[174] Chowdhury Alam is the acting city councilor of Dhaka City Corporation. BNP alleges that governments comment in this regard is very much inconsistent and sporadic. It also says that there was a general diary filed in the police station, but government is indifferent about this. While the Home Affairs minister told that government is trying to find out him.[175]

Case – 05

On September 03, 2010, President Zillur Rahman granted clemency to 20 Awami League activists sentenced to death for murder. Earlier, Judge Firoze Alam of the Speedy Trial Tribunal of Dhaka had sentenced 21 people, including Naldanga Thana Awami League General Secretary SM Feroze on August 24, 2006 for murder of Jubo Dal leader Sabbir Hossain Gama, also the nephew of former BNP central leader Ruhul Kuddus Talukdar Dulu.

Case – 06

Awami League activists with sharp dagger, knife, steel rod,  beat to death Sanaullah Noor Babu, in 8th October during a BNP procession in Bonpara Bazar, Natore. He was  BNP-backed chairman of Boraigram upazila,. Around 50 AL activists equipped with firearms, sticks, iron rods and machetes swooped on the BNP procession and started beating the opposition men leaving 30 others including Bonpara Municipality Mayor Ishaq Ali and while taking photographs four journalists were injured. Killers of Boraigram upazila chairman Sanaullah Noor Babu set free although Natore police identified 16 people on October 9 from video footage of the attack that killed Boraigram upazila chairman Babu the previous day. Police arrested only one of them in this connection. The arrestee, Russell Hossain Rappu, is a Bangladesh Chhatra League activist of the upazila. Several footages from TV news showed how Boraigram upazila chairman and local BNP leader Sanaullah Noor Babu was brutally beaten to death on October 8 allegedly by AL men. The police so far have identified 16 of the 27 accused from the videotape. One was arrested, but main accused Zakir Hossain stayed out of police reach. Awami League lawmaker of Baraigram-Gurudaspur constituency Abdul Quddus yesterday assured his party men accused of the BNP leader Sanaullah Noor Babu murder case of “trouble-free” future. “There is nothing to be worried about. The Awami League government is in power. Nothing will happen to the accused of the murder case,” he told a party rally on Bonpara bypass. While the Natore Awami League and the local MP are trying to portray the murder of BNP leader Sanaullah Noor Babu as a consequence to BNP’s internal feud, the investigators are certain that the ruling party activists had committed the offence. Investigation officer (IO) of the case Sub-Inspector Abdul Hannan of Detective Branch said “I have enough evidence against the accused but they are now hiding to escape arrests”. The main accused Zakir, A member of Boraigram Upazila unit AL, is now under local MP’s shelter.

Case – 07

On 2nd November RAB-police presence at Khaleda’s residence grew tension relating to the eviction from the house & rumor also spread about attempt to arrest Salahuddin Qader Chowdhury, the lawmaker and International affairs secretary of BNP.1 On 6th November it came into report that prime minister, Sheikh Hasina asked Khaleda Zia to lave cantonment house & has also asked her party followers to start person-to-person campaign against what she said falsehood being dished out by the BNP-Jamaat axis.2 On 9th November PM request Khaleda to leave residence following the verdict. She said, residence for 200-250 officers can be built at that place and thus she should leave to solve the problems accommodation.3 On 11th of November the chief justice, ABM Khairul Haque, has regretted denial of entry into the courtroom of journalists who went to the Supreme Court in the KHALEDA CASE HEARING.4 On 13th of the November the police and plainclothesmen Saturday afternoon evicted the BNP chairperson and leader of the opposition, Khaleda Zia, from 6 Shaheed Mainul Road house where she had been living since 1972.5 Khaleda Zia alleged by ISPR claiming she was rude in behave with the army officials.6 On 26th November case filed against Khaleda on money laundering by ACC.

Case – 08

BNP top leader and Member of parliament SQ Chowdhury was arrested in charge of setting fire during hartal.[176] But the home minister said that “war criminal is caught”[177]. Later BAL advisory body member Suronjit Sen Gupta MP said the SQ would be tried for inhuman activities in 1971[178] Later he was taken into remand for five days and his family[179] repeatedly said that he was brutally tortured[180]. SQ Chowdhury’s son is going to file case against UK for training RAB[181] Later he was shown arrest in War Crimes tribunal[182] and sedition case was filed against him[183]. His bank account was scrutinized[184]. Amnesty international and US senator John Boozman said that these arrests are accused of being politically motivated[185]

Case – 09

On April 05, 2011 the central Jamat-E-Islami called a Commotion Meeting followed by Rally at Muktangon of Dhaka in protesting the torture, remand, injustice by the present government over its detained top leaders. Bangladesh Police has attacked over peaceful procession of Bangladesh Jamat-E-Islami on April 05, 2011 noon at Paltan area of the capital city Dhaka. But Police held more than 50 Jamat-men including wayfarer and Musulli[186] after torturing them by using rubber bullet, teargas shell, hot colored water, stick etc. The total Paltan area turned into a war-like situation and the general people witnessed the brutality of Police over enjoyment of democratic rights of a political party.[187]

Loot & Vandalizing

  • The Securities and Exchange Commission was buzzing activity following a decision to release the bonds of ruling party MP Enamul Haque of Rajshahi. The bonds worth 175 crore taka are owned by Northern Power Solution Limited. Immediately after receiving the application for the bonds, the SEC jumped into action to grant them permission.[188]
  • Awami league and one of its wing Juboleague leaders illegally obtained the land worth 40 crore taka of Bangladesh Railway and started constructing a market on it. Juboleague Dhaka City South president Mohiuddin Ahmed and his brother were accused for the illegal grabbing. At least 500 shops are being built and each is sold at 10-12 lac taka. The railway authority has turned a blind eye as the illegal encroachers have filed 2 petitions on behalf of themselves. Authorities said that the encroachers have earned at least 60 crore taka through this project.[189]
  • Shipping and Inland Water Transport Minister Md. Shahjahan Khan approved a committee to collect subscription from vehicles crossing through the Doulatdia Ghat of Rajbari. The Minister appointed members from his organization, Sromik Federation to the committee while Bangladesh Bus –truck Owners association opposed the formation. The law enforcing agencies later confirmed that there is no legal framework for this type of committee.[190]
  • A tender of 52 crore taka was distributed among contractors of Roads and Highways Department, Rajshahi. Local BNP and Awami League leaders were accused of playing a key role behind this distribution. While explaining the distribution; the accused said they did so to prevent further trouble. Authorities denied their acknowledgment about such an agreement. [191]
  • The report on the scandal at share market accused many influential personalities as well as institutions for illegally affecting the transactions. Names of few private banks also came up in the report. But the head of the investigation committee Dr. Ibrahim Khaled stated that it was the responsibility of Bangladesh Bank to prevent such an incident. But the report kept a low tone on the responsibilities and actions of Bangladesh Bank in fear that such case would steal the spotlight from the problem at hand.[192]
  • The work order for the repairing of Bangabondhu Bridge was awarded to China Communication Construction Company, an institution which has close ties with communications minister Syed Abul Hossain. The government will have to pay an extra 77 crore taka with a total of 243 crore taka due to this decision. Before the latest tender, another one of the minister’s institutions had failed to obtain the tender previously on accusations of being on the black list. [193]
  • A syndicate of government party members involved themselves in massive corruption and smuggling at the Burimari land port, Lalmanirhat. Smuggling of various items including motor parts and spices has made many rich in the area. Authorities put a blind eye to these incidents as official records were removed to avoid any allegations.[194]
  • Awami League cadres attacked at least 72 buildings at Kadamtali, Dhaka and evicted 200 families from their home. The owners of the buildings held a press conference at Dhaka Reporters Unity auditorium and made these accusations. They stated that Awami cadres forged the ownership of the land of that area and attacked their homes led by known terrorists. They demanded that their homes be given back to them immediately.[195]
  • At least 300 physicians of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University held a human chain at Shahbag during office hours. This had left hundreds of patients in distress as the doctors left them for the human chain. Leaders of the government supported medical association took part in the program.[196]
  • Over a thousand crore taka was looted by the leaders and activists of the ruling party through corruption at the Kormosrijon program. The program was undertaken by the government to help the poor people but the ruling party leaders have selected only the party activists name in the lists of workers for the program. The project is being implemented at 133 upazillas of 64 districts. Various reports of corruption in forming the committees responsible for allocating the work and funds of the program were made.[197]
  • Freedom fighters demanded removal of Chairman of Freedom fighters association accusing him of embezzlement of funds. They alleged that the Ministry to Freedom Fighters Affairs is involved in corruption and misappropriation of freedom fighters’ welfare funds[198].
  • In an extended committee meeting of Awami League at Narsigdhi Circuit house, Telecommunication minister confessed that his relatives were involved in corruption in the locality. Other Awami leaders gave similar opinions. Many of them said that the relatives of many Chairmen, MPs and Ministers are escaping legal actions because of their ‘connections’[199].
  • In a proposition of transit for India, it was proposed that a railway bridge must be built by government. Moreover, it was also proposed to give import certificates to Indian products without any test. Furthermore, it was argued that such test-less provision of transit should also be allowed for Indian trucks and cargoes[200].
  • The last existing mural of Late president Ziaur Rahman was removed from Sohrawardy Park at Dhaka near Dhaka University campus. In this park several murals were placed in memory of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Zaiur Rahman and other unknown freedom fighters. At the time of removal police guarded the whole area and restricted movement within Sohrawardy Park[201].
  • Dr Muhammad Yunus, the man who brought a Nobel Prize for Bangladesh, and the most celebrated living Bangladeshi around the globe, was unceremoniously relieved of his duties at Grameen Bank through a Bangladesh Bank letter. The central bank said Yunus failed to seek its approval when he was reappointed as the managing director in 2000, violating one of the statutes of the partly state-owned (25 percent) Grameen Bank. Now 11 years later the central bank suddenly woke up to the issue and hurried to “repair” the situation.
  • Attorney General, Mahbub-e-Alam, told the High Court on Monday that ‘no wrong’ had been done upon Muhammad Yunus when the Bangladesh Bank issued its letter relieving the managing director of Grameen Bank from his duties. ‘Getting the Nobel Peace prize is a different matter from the legal issue before the court,’ he said. ‘Everyone has a lifetime as a human being, and no one is indispensable,’ the Attorney General said, asking the court not to issue a rule against Bangladesh Bank.
  • Shajib Wajed Joy, son of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina sent e-mails to many including Paris-based group ‘Friends of Yunus’ showing “logics” behind removing Dr. Muhammad Yunus from the place of Director of Grameen Bank. He alleged that Norwegian investors did not pull out from Bangladesh despite massive corruption because of Yunus’s lobbying in Norwegian parliament. Mr. Joy also made other accusations referring to news reports in his e-mail[202].
  • Lord Avebury, Vice-Chair of the UK Parliamentary Human Rights Group, has said the removal of Grameen Bank founder and Nobel Laureate Prof Muhammad Yunus by the government from his post raises serious concerns about the creeping politicization of development work and civil society in Bangladesh.[203]
  • The superintending engineer (SE) of Rajshahi City Corporation (RCC) was assaulted allegedly by a local Awami League (AL) leader and his aide for refusing to sign a bill. Victim Ashraful Haque alleged that Rajpara unit AL president Hafizur Rahman Babu and his aide Golam Akbor Khokon beat him up upon entering into his office at Nagar Bhaban.[204]

Torture on Women & Vulnerable People

Case – 01

On July 3, 2009, the police from the Zianagar Police Station in Pirojpur district arrested two female students and one female teacher on suspicion all wearing veils, under Section 54 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, despite finding nothing illegal in the search. The matter did not end there. They were taken to court as ‘terrorists’ and taken into remand for three days and illegally handed over to the Taskforce Intelligence (TFI) for interrogation. The TFI cell did not find the accused women to be associated with acts of ‘terrorism’.

On July 20, 2009, the Deputy Attorney General, Rajik Al Jalil stated that the allegations against the three veiled women were found to be untrue. The action of arresting three women sets a precedence of sending innocent women to ‘remand’ simply because they were wearing veils. There are many women in Bangladesh who wear veils. Furthermore, personal choice of citizens is secured by our constitution. The acts by the police of the Zianagar Police Station deemed unlawful as searching the three women and arresting them, despite not finding anything illegal, and forcing them to take off their veils in order to take their photographs, which were later published in the newspapers. The whole incident was a gross violation of their human rights. This kind of behavior of the law enforcement agencies towards citizen is absolutely unacceptable.

Case – 02

On September 28, a leader of Pirojpur district unit Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) raped a class X student luring her to love trap and videotaped it in his cell-phone.

The video footage then reached to local youths through cell-phone, flash drives and CDs and was also on sale in video stores.

Ahsan Kabir Mamun alias Mamun Hawlader, information and research secretary of district unit BCL, student front of ruling Awami League, admitted the rape but blamed political and business rivals for the video. (The Daily Star)

Case – 03

Accusations have been rampantly made against those who practice religion and this has happened all over the country during the present Government. On 01 October 2010, a Muslim lady from Cyprus wearing Hijab was arrested on the suspicion of being an extremist while she was simply taking photographs of the national mosque. Police had no prior information about the woman.

  • BAL leaders attacked a Hindu temple in Ukiara Bazar of Manikganj Sadar Upazila. They crashed down the temple as well as the homes of the neighboring Hindu communities. While collecting the news of this event, journalists from private television channel Banglavision, ATN Bangla and the daily Samakal were injured by BAL cadres. Local Hindu community is living in fear since then.[205]
  • Police entered Tangi branch office of the Women wing of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami and forced female activists to remove their veil. Police later justified their act telling that they suspected ‘terrorist involvements’ that led them do the thorough check-up. Police also wanted to take the girls to custody but eventually failed as Jamaat activists protested. Local community strongly condemned this act.[206]
  • 17 Girls were molested during the Bengali New Year festival in University of Dhaka. Most of the concerts were arranged under the supervision of University BCL leaders. Reportedly, one female journalist from a TV channel was harassed by BCL cadres while attending the festival. Several other molestations and teasing were reported on the same day.[207]
  • A class 8 girl committed suicide due to harassment and teasing by the neighborhood hooligan. The hooligan used to tease this girl on her way home from school. This incident came up with a series of identical incidence increasing throughout the country.[208]
  • In a press conference one Awami League leader from Satkhira district’s Tala upazila accused another leader for torturing minority people and looting 50 thousand taka from them. Refuting the accusation, the co-organizational secretary Narayan Mojumder in his written speech said that the cultural secretary of AL Abdul Halim Tutul is himself a panic for the minority people of Magura union.[209]
    • Two female teachers of Chittagong University were sexually assaulted by 3 miscreants.[210]

Recommendations

  1. Bangladesh is a state party of many International Conventions and the provision of those instruments are binding on Bangladesh. But, they are being violated every day by the present Government.

 

The attack on peaceful procession and arbitrary arrests violates some very basic human rights which Bangladesh is committed to protect but violating frequently. Bangladesh is a signatory of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) 1966 which incorporated certain fundamental human rights. Under article 21 of this covenant, Bangladesh cannot impose any unreasonable restriction on the right of peaceful assembly held in accordance with law.[211] Afflicting the rally participants, police also disrespected the rights of protection from torture and cruel treatment.[212]

Bangladesh is a state party of Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), 1984 that bars it to take initiatives that tend to form any kind of torture.[213] Instead of implementing this, the existing Government is increasing the torture with brutal style on the opposition members. This is really very unacceptable and Government should immediately stop these violations.

Again, a speedy trial is one of the fundamental rights of a citizen.[214] And under ICCPR, Bangladesh Government must ensure a fair and public trial for anyone charged with a criminal offense[215], and such a trial must take place “without undue delay.” But it’s being fearfully seen that, the Government is delaying the trial of so called ‘war criminals’ and detain them for uncertain period which is clear violation of human rights.

  1. The government took steps in bringing to trial those responsible for ‘international crimes’ in connection with the war of 1971. The Government arrested five members of opposition parties, but there are strong suspicions that the detentions at this time are politically motivated. Equally troubling, the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act of 1973 still falls well short of international standards.[216]
  2. Freedom of opinion and expression is an inalienable human right which is recognized by the Constitution of Bangladesh[217] and by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948.[218] So the Government of Bangladesh should stop itself from exercising the arbitrary action which are harmful to freedom of media and expression. All restrictions and restrictive outlooks towards media must be changed. For that, Government must stop violence and suppression against media and media personalities.

 

[1] Ittefaq 04/10/10

[2] Ittefaq 08/10/10

[3] Sangram 08/10/10

[4] Daily Star 16-03-11

[5] Prothom Alo, 08.04.2011

[6] The Daily Star, 10.04.2011

[7] Naya Diganta 19.3.11

[8] Amar Desh: 22.3.11

[9] Amar Desh: 12.3.11, Kaler Kantha: 16.3.11, Prothom Alo: 15.3.11

[10] Daily Star 12-03-11

[11] Daily Star 22-03-11

2 Naya diganta, 28.01.2011

[13] The Daily Star, 29.01.2011

[14] Amar Desh, 31.01.2011

[15] Daily Jugantor, 8 November 2010.

[16] New Age, 13 November 2010.

[17] Naya Diganta, 14 November 2010.

[18] Daily Jugantor, 20 November 2010.

[19] Amar Desh, 24 November 2010.

[20] Prothom Alo 02/10/10

[21] Sangram 07/10/10

[22] The Daily Star. 11/03/2011

[23] Amar Desh, 22.04.2011

[24] Daily Star 19-04-11

[25] Daily Jugantor, 14 November 2010.

[26] Daily Sangram, 21 November 2010.

[27] New Age, 29 November 2010

[28] Daily Jugantor, 21 November 2010.

[29] Daily Jugantor, 12 November 2010.

[30] the Daily star, 18.02.2011

[31] Amar Desh, 21 November 2010.

1The Daily Star, 28.01.2011

[33] New Age 02/12/10

[34] New Age 12/12/10

[35] New Age 14/12/10

[36] The Independent 19-04-11

[37] Daily Sangram 27.2.11

[38] New Age 26/01/2011

[39] Naya Diganta: 6.3.11

[40] New Age 01/12/10

[41] Kaler Kantha 9.3.11; Amader Shomoy 8.3.11, Naya Diganta 9.3.11, New Age: 9.3.11

[42] Prothom Alo 30/01/2011

[43] Amar Desh: 2.3.11

[44] New Age 16-03-11

[45] Amar Desh: 6.3.11

[46] Jugantor, 01.03.2011

[47] Amar Desh, 07.02.2011

[48] Amar Desh, 08.02.2011

[49] Daily Star 04/02/2011

[50] New Age 04/02/2011

[51] Nayadiganta 04/10/10

[52] Daily Star 23-04-11

[53] Kaler Kantha, 22.04.2011

[54] Daily Star 12-03-11

[55] Daily Star 17-03-11

[56] Prothom Alo, 15.02.2011, The Daily Star, 16.02.2011

[57] Amar Desh, 02.02.2011

[58] New Age 12-03-11

[59] Daily Star 25-03-11

[60] New Age 25-03-11

[61] New Age, 30.01.2011

[62] new Age, 02.02.2011

[63] The Daily Star, 03.02.2011

[64] the Daily Star, 05.02.2011

[65] Amar Desh, 12.02.2011

[66] Amar Desh, 13.02.2011

[67] The Daily Star, 16.02.2011

[68] the Daily Star, 19.02.2011

[69] Amar Desh: 6.4.11, Prothom Alo: 24.6.11

[70] Naya Diganta, 27th Ferbuary 2009.

[71] The Daily Nayadiganta, 11/07/2010

[72] Daily Star 17/12/10

[73] Prothom Alo 16/12/10

[74] Prothom Alo 16/12/10

[77] Guardian 31/12/10

[78] Daily Star 20/12/10

[79] Daily Star 24/12/10

[80] Prothom Alo 24/12/10

[82] Daily Star 04/12/10

[83] Daily Star 15/12/10

[84] Nayadiganta

[85] The Daily Amar Desh; 29 October 2010

[86] New Age, 29 October 2010

[87] Daily Star, 3rd November 2010

[88] New Age, 30 October 2010

[89] Naya Diganta, 1st November 2010

[90] Prothom Alo, 2nd November 2010

[91] Amar Desh, 2nd November 2010

[92] Naya Diganta, 3rd November 2010

[93] Naya Diganta, 1st November 2010

[94] Prothom Alo, 31st October 2010

[95] New Age, 30 October 2010

[96] New Age, 30 October 2010

[97] Prothom Alo, 1st November 2010

[98] Prothom Alo, 1st November 2010

[99] Daily Star 06/12/10

[100] Daily Star 06/12/10

[101] New Age 06/12/10

[102] Daily Star 14/12/10

 

[103] New Age 17/12/10

[104] Prothom Alo 02/12/10

[105] Prothom Alo 03/12/10

[106] Prothom Alo 25/12/10

[107] Prothom Alo 04/12/10

[108] Prothom Alo 12/12/10

[109] Daily Star 16/12/10

[110] Daily Star 21/12/10

[111] Daily Star 22/12/10

[112] Daily Star 01/12/10

[113] Prothom Alo 05/12/10

[114] The Daily Star 11-04-11

[115] Kaler Kantha: 26.4.11

[116] Weekly Holiday: 2nd July, 2010

[117] Kaler Kantha: 26.4.11

[118] Amar Desh: 6.4.11

[119] Prothom Alo, 17.04.2011

[120] The Daily Star, 11.04.2011

[121] The Daily Star, 17.04.2011

[122] The Daily Star, 23.02.2011

[123] Prothom Alo: 26.4.11, 7.4.11

[124] The Independent 22-04-11

[125] New Age 16/12/10

[126] Daily Star 18/12/10

[127] Prothom Alo 23/12/10

[128] Daily Star 24/12/10

[129] New Age 16/12/10

[130] The Daily Star 24-03-11

[131] New Age 14-03-11

[132] The Daily Star: 31.12.10

[133] 20.01.11 Naya Diganta

[134] The Kaler Kantha, 1.12.2010

[135] The Daily Sangram 4.12.2010

[136] The Daily Sangram 4.12.2010

[137] The Daily Sangram 6.12.2010

1The Daily Star, 28.01.2011

[139] Sources: 2009 Report: www.odhikar.org/reports/2009

January-July 2010: compiled report based on www.odhikar.org www.amnesty.org

Several local dailies and news agencies.

[140] Amar Desh, 07.04.2011

[141] Daily Star 4-03-11

[142] Amader Shomoy 07-03-11

[143] The Prothomalo. 23/03/2011

[144] Naya Diganta: 14.3.11

[145] Amader Shomoy: 22.3.11

[146] Amader Shomoy: 22.3.11

[147] Jugantor: 18.3.11

[148] Amar Desh: 18.3.11

[149] http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=155604

1The Daily Star, 28.01.2011

[151] The Daily Prothom Alo: 09.01.11

[152] The Daily Amardesh: 28.12.10

[153] The Daily Star: 29.12.10

[154] The Kaler Kantha, 19.12.2010

[155] The Kaler Kantha, 9.12.2010

[156] Amar Desh: 13.3.11

[157] The Daily Star: 22.3.11

[158] Amar Desh: 13.3.11, Prothom Alo: 13.3.11, Naya Diganta: 13.3.11

[159] Amar Desh 17.3.11

[160] Naya Diganta: 18.3.11

[161] Amar Desh 27-02-11

[162] The Daily Star, 24.04.2011, Prothom Alo, 24.04.2011

[163] The Prothomalo. 11/03/2011

[164] The Prothomalo. 11/03/2011

[166] Person who prays at Mosque

[167] The Daily Prothom Alo, April 6, 2011

[168] http://www.dailysangram.com/print.php?news_id=50667

[169] http://theindependentbd.com/paper-edition/frontpage/129-frontpage/41281-17-shibir-men-held-in-capital.html

[170] http://www.dailysangram.com/print.php?news_id=50667

[171] http://www.amardeshonline.com/pages/details/2011/03/27/74138

[172] http://www.dailysangram.com/print.php?news_id=50667

[173] The Daily Amar Desh; 29 October 2010

[174] Amardesh 03/10/10

[175] Nayadiganta 04/10/10

[176] Daily Star 17/12/10

[177] Prothom Alo 16/12/10

[178] Prothom Alo 16/12/10

[181] Guardian 31/12/10

[182] Daily Star 20/12/10

[183] Daily Star 24/12/10

[184] Prothom Alo 24/12/10

[186] Person who says prayer to God at Mosque.

[187] The Daily Prothom Alo, April 6, 2011

[188] Amar Desh 06-04-11

[189] Prothom Alo 07-04-11

[190] Amar Desh 08-04-11

[191] Prothom Alo 10-04-11

[192] Amar Desh 12-04-11

[193] Amar Desh 12-04-11

[194] Amar desh 12-04-11

[195] Amar Desh 18-04-11

[196] Prothom Alo 21-04-11

[197] Amar Desh 22-04-11

[198] Amar Desh: 25.4.11

[199] Amar Desh: 25.4.11

[200] Amar Desh: 20.4.11

[201] Amar Desh 28.3.11

[202] Naya Diganta 7.3.11; The Daily Star 7.3.11

[203] The Daily Star, 13.03.2011

[204] The Daily Star, 11.03.2011

[205] Amar Desh 06-04-11

[206] Amar Desh 06-04-11

[207] Amar Desh 16-04-11

[208] Amar Desh 25-04-11

[209] Prothom Alo 26-04-11

[210] Amar Desh, 25.03.2011

[211] Article 21 of ICCPR: The right of peaceful assembly shall be recognized. No restrictions may be placed on the exercise of this right other than those imposed in conformity with the law and which are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, public order (ordre public), the protection of public health or morals or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

[212] Article 7 of ICCPR: No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

[213] Article 2 of CAT

[214] Article 35 of the Constitution of Bangladesh ensures it.

[215] Article 14 of the ICCPR

[217] Art. 39(2) of the Constitution of Bangladesh ensures the freedom of expression.

[218] Art. 19 says, Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

 

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