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Putting an end to torture and custodial abuse

  • Published at 09:55 pm August 2nd, 2019

Every individual has the right to due process

At the 67th session of the UN Committee Against Torture in Geneva, Switzerland, our law minister insisted that Bangladesh had a zero-tolerance policy against torture and other forms of abuse in custody, which often lead to custodial deaths.

We would like this to be true -- after all, every individual has the right to due process, and this includes the right to not be tortured and abused while awaiting trial.

And yet, a dark shadow looms in our country over the very idea of police custody, and it is common knowledge that cruel treatment and abuse are commonplace behind bars, however illegal such acts may be.

Whenever a person is taken in to remand in Bangladesh, for example, it goes without saying that they emerge in worse physical condition than when they entered; indeed, many go into custody and never come back at all, while no satisfactory explanation is given by the authorities.

Despite the law minister’s assurances, it seems that many members of law enforcement think they have carte blanche to abuse or torture arrestees, using physical violence to obtain “confessions.” 

The general public, over time, has developed an unfortunate apathy and indifference towards this practice of “remand torture,” a practice that is truly appalling.

It is high time we denounced torture and custodial abuse in the harshest terms; they are nothing but an insult to our justice system, to rule of law, and a stain on the principles of this country.

Our goal should be to truly end this violent, barbaric, and retrograde practice, so that human rights are never compromised, and the word of law is not bent to serve the purposes of unscrupulous law enforcement personnel.