Thursday December 12, 2013
Bangladesh: Arbitrary Arrest and Detention of Human Rights Defender Mr Adilur Rahman KhanLetter by William Gomes Salem-News.com
Mr. Khan was arrested in front of his house at Gulshan.
(YORK, UK) - On 13 August 2013, human rights defender Mr Adilur Rahman Khan was transferred to Kashimpur-1 jail where he remains in custody while the investigation against him continues. The human rights defender was arrested without a warrant on 10 August 2013 and later charged with 'publishing false images and information' and 'disrupting the law and order situation.' Adilur Rahman Khan is the Secretary of Odhikar, a human rights organisation founded in 1994 with the aim of spreading awareness of human rights and conduct monitoring throughout Bangladesh.
The organisation has trained over 500 human rights defenders to date. On 10 August 2013, at approximately 10:20 pm, Adilur Rahman Khan was arrested in front of his house at Gulshan – the same building which houses the Odhikar offices – by about 10 plainclothes men from the Detective Branch (DB) of the police force and taken to the DB custody facility on Mintoo Road in Dhaka. No arrest warrant was presented at that time. At 2 am, various human rights defenders attached to Odhikar made their way to the police station in Gulshan where the police on duty explicitly denied having a case on file against Adilur Rahman Khan, or having any information about his arrest. At 3 am, the human rights defender's wife attempted to lodge a General Diary at the Gulshan police station. The duty officer refused to accept this, stating that the case was 'sensitive'; this was repeated by the Officer in Charge once he had been summoned on the insistence of Adilur Rahman Khan's wife. On 11 August, at 1:20 pm, Adilur Rahman Khan was led before the Chief Metropolitan Magistrates Court, where the charges against him were first read out.
The human rights defender has been charged under clauses 1 and 2 of section 57 of the Information and Communication Technology Act (2006). Two General Diaries had been lodged against him: number 268 dated 10 August 2013, filed by the Detective Branch of Police (North), according to which the human rights defender was arrested under section 54 of the Code of Criminal Procedure; and number 514 of the same date, filed by Gulshan Police Station, despite their denials to the wife of Adilur Rahman Khan and Odhikar staff about having any knowledge of his arrest.
The human rights defender's petition for bail was rejected by the court. During the evening of 11 August, between 8:20 pm and 9:00 pm, police searched the Odhikar offices and confiscated three laptops and two desktop hard drives. Adilur Rahman Khan was finally transferred to Dhaka Central Jail at 3 pm on 13 August, and later, finally, to Kashimpur-1 Jail. The charges against the human rights defender are reported to relate to a fact-finding report about human rights violations that occurred during the police crackdown against the Hefazate Islam rally at Motjiheel on 5-6 May 2013.
Odhikar's fact-finding mission report concluded that 61 people had died at in the incident. In response to the report, the Government sent a letter on 10 July requesting that Odhikar hand over a list with the full names and addresses of the deceased, which Odhikar denied unless the list would be handled by an independent commission set up for the purpose. Furthermore, in recent years Odhikar has repeatedly seen its human rights projects been frustrated by the authorities who delayed approval.
Salem-News.com Human Rights Ambassador William Nicholas Gomes is concerned that this most recent incident is part of a pattern of harassment from the authorities of Bangladesh aimed to frustrate the organisations activities defending and promoting human rights.
Salem-News.com Human Rights Ambassador William Nicholas Gomes is a Bangladeshi journalist, human rights activist and author was born on 25 December, 1985 in Dhaka. As an investigative journalist he wrote widely for leading European and Asian media outlets.
He is also active in advocating for free and independent media and journalists’ rights, and is part of the free media movement, Global Independent Media Center – an activist media network for the creation of radical, accurate, and passionate telling of the truth. He worked for Italian news agency Asianews.it from year 2009 to 2011, on that time he was accredited as a free lance journalist by the press information department of Bangladesh. During this time he has reported a notable numbers of reports for the news agency which were translated into Chinese and Italian and quoted by notable number of new outlets all over the world.He, ideologically, identifies himself deeply attached with anarchism. His political views are often characterized as “leftist” or “left-wing,” and he has described himself as an individualist anarchist.
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