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'Perpetrators of extrajudicial killing must be brought to justice'

  • Published at 06:09 pm October 5th, 2019
Committee for the Protection of Fundamental Rights
Speakers at a conference for Committee for the Protection of Fundamental Rights at the National Press Club Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

Members of law enforcement agencies who are responsible should be brought to justice, Shahdeen Malik said

Eminent human rights activist Dr Shahdeen Malik said those responsible for abduction, forced disappearance, and extrajudicial killings must be brought to justice.

He was speaking at a seminar titled “Recommendations from UN on preventing disappearance, and reality in Bangladesh,” organized by the Committee for the Protection of Fundamental Rights at the National Press Club in Dhaka on Saturday. 

Dr Shahdeen, the convener of the committee, claimed: “Members of law enforcement agencies, who commit these offenses, are young, aged 25-35. There is so much time left for them to be brought to justice.

“They should not think they will enjoy unspoken indemnity for a lifetime. In other countries, where these kind of offences happen, perpetrators faced trials even after 10-20, or 30 years after their crimes.”

Prof Chowdhury Rafiqul Abrar of the Department of International Relations at Dhaka University said: “From diplomats to working class, every community has faced forced disappearances, and extrajudicial killings. In some cases law enforcement personnel picked them up, even wearing uniforms.” 

He asked: “Why do law enforcement agencies not know who were involved in the abductions and forced disappearances? Why have they shown negligence in filing a case, even when after mentioning the particular officer who was involved in a forced disappearance?” 

He furthered: “Extrajudicial killings had been done by the Pakistani Army. Whoever thinks that the killing by Pakistan army was not right, please come forward and raise your voice against current extrajudicial killings, and forced disappearances. Extrajudicial killings, and indemnity for it, is against the spirit of our Liberation War.” 

Rezanur Rahman Lenin, member of the committee, while presenting the keynote paper at the seminar said: “According to Amnesty International, at least 80 people disappeared in 2017-2018. International Federation for Human Rights informed that 507 disappearances occurred between 2009-2018. Asian Human Rights Commission has noted that 532 forced disappearances happened in 2009-2019 (up to July). 

Only 52 families were able to file a general diary with police stations. The ones who were abducted are mostly opposition leaders, students, teachers, journalists, businessmen, dissenting voice, and fundamentalists, Rezanur said.

Prof Asif Nazrul of the University of Dhaka accusing the government of abduction, and extrajudicial killings, said: “The State cannot commit any crimes but the government has involvement.” 

He said: “Family members and neighbors accuse RAB, and police. Disappeared persons, when they return, do not open their mouths, and police show no interest in investigating where the person had been before his return. Police stations neglect to file cases related to forced disappearances. No advancement is seen in such cases. That means the government is responsible. 

“Not only human beings; democracy, opposition, voting rights, and judiciary have also been abducted.” 

He cautioned saying: “Someday people will know the identity of everyone. Even after 20 or 50 years, they will know who committed these killings. No one will be able to escape.”.