Torture is routinely used by the law enforcers to extract “confessions” in Bangladesh, said a platform of 10 rights bodies.
It is also used by the state for politically-motivated purposes as a tool to intimidate and suppress political opponents, dissenting voices, vulnerable groups, and even ordinary citizens, read a joint statement issued on Saturday.
June 26 is the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.
The platform said that allowing the police to take an accused for questioning during remand creates the scope for torture.
“The few recent cases against members of law enforcement agencies on allegations of custodial torture and extortion raise serious questions about the authorities’ willingness to hold their own to account. For instance, on 14 February 2023, two traders in Dhaka filed complaints of torture and extortion against police officers with the Dhaka Metropolitan Sessions Judge Court under the 2013 Act,” said the statement.
“Satkhira-based journalist Raghunath Kha alleged that he was blindfolded, tortured, and electrocuted in the custody of the Detective Branch of police on January 23, 2023, after being arrested by police in Satkhira,” it continued.
“In another case, on January 29, 2023, Abu Hossain Rajan, a lawyer who used to work for a private hospital, alleged that he was detained incommunicado … and taken to the Detective Branch headquarters every day where he was tortured during interrogation in custody,” it added.
“The case of a yarn trader Rabiul Islam of Gazipur, who died due to torture in police custody, not only shed light on alleged custodial torture leading to the death of the victim, but also revealed how the police allegedly fabricate stories to cover up their misdeeds,” it stated.
The statement was signed by Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN), Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD), Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), Capital Punishment Justice Project (CPJP), International Coalition against Enforced Disappearances (ICAED), Maayer Daak, Odhikar, Robert F Kennedy Human Rights, and World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT).
The organisations said they demanded an immediate end to this impunity.