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FORWARDED APPEAL (Bangladesh): Legal action against one human rights advocate due to his work on illegal demolition of one Hindu temple by the armed forces

August 15, 2007

URGENT ACTION URGENT ACTION URGENT ACTION URGENT ACTION

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION - URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME

Forwarded appeal on 15 August 2007
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FA-006-2007: BANGLADESH: Legal action against one human rights advocate due to his work on illegal demolition of one Hindu temple by the armed forces

BANGLADESH: Repression on human rights defenders; illegal demolition; impunity
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Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is forwarding an urgent appeal issued by the Human Rights Congress for Banglaesh Minorities (HRCBM) regarding the legal action against its Dhaka chapter President, Rabindra Ghosh. A case was filed against the victim alleging his work as anti-state, after he contacted several local government officials to inquire about the illegal demolition of one hindu temple by the armed forces in Bhabanipur Sherpur-Bogra district on 13 February 2007.

According to the latest information collected by us, the Magistrate's Cognizance Court-GA Area of Bogra district issued the arrest warrant against Rabindra Ghosh on 15 July 2007 following a General Diary (GD) No. 666, dated 20 February 2007, lodged by the Upazilla Nirbahi Officer (UNO) of Sherpur upazilla under Bogra district. The GD was turned into a non-GR (Government Record) case # 31/2007 (petition # 116).

The Sutrapur police station under the supervision of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police received the arrest warrant by a letter (Memo number-559(1), dated: 5 August 2007). A police officer, on receiving the warrant, called Rabindra Ghosh on his cell phone and suggested him to get bail prior to the arrest warrant was executed through surrendering himself before the court. Rabindra Ghosh, who is a lawyer practicing at the Supreme Court, plans to lodge a petition for anticipatory bail. However, Rabindra Ghosh is concerned that High Court Division Bench does not usually accept such petitions without giving any detailed explanation. Meanwhile, Rabindra Ghosh reported that he did not receive any more threats in the past a few days.

If you have any further inquiry about the case, please feel free to contact the HRCBM. The organization's contact information is provided below.

Urgent Appeals Desk
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)
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Human Rights Congress for Bangladesh Minorities (HRCBM)
P.O. Box 5493
Santa Clara, CA 95056-5493
USA
Ph: 212-592-3627 (VM)
Fax: 215-434-6804
http://www.hrcbm.org , http://www.hrcbmdfw.org , http://www.hrtribune.com
http://quandaryreflection.blogspot.com
Email: info@hrcbm.org 

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Urgent Appeal

7th August 2007
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UA-001-2007: BANGLADESH: Arrest Warrant Against Advocate Rabindra Ghosh President of HRCBM-Dhaka Chapter, Bangladesh

BANGLADESH: False case, Arrest Warrant against Human Rights activist
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Dear friends,

The Human Rights Congress for Bangladesh Minorities (HRCBM), a human rights and humanitarian organization and an NGO in special consultative status with UN has received a report from its Dhaka chapter, in Bangladesh, regarding the alleged arrest warrant against its president of local chapter advocate Rabindra Ghosh. It is reported that annoyed by the investigation of Advocate Rabindra Ghosh for the recovery of historic Bhabani Temple at Bogora, Upazilla Nirbahi Officer filed the case against our renowned human rights activist alleging that advocate Rabindra Ghosh is involved in malicious activities against the state. Police has given 24 hours notice based on the warrant and requested advocated Rabindra Ghosh to comply.

CASE DETAILS:

Combined Armed forces of Bangladesh demolished Mandir structure of "Sree Sree Ma Bhabani Temple" at Bhabanipur Sherpur-Bogra District on Feb 13, 2007 in the name of unauthorized structure. Decree and order of the high court was violated. Pujari (worshippers) and Office bearer manhandled. Sanctity of historic temple desecrated.

Detailed Report available at
http://hrcbmdfw.org/blogs/rajshahi_division_news/archive/2007/02/22/617.aspx

HRCBM-Dhaka has received an appeal dated 20th February,07 from historic Bhabanipur Mandir Committee to-day that their Temple structure situated at Bhabanipur within Sherpur P.S. of Bogra District of Bangladesh has been demolished in the name of unauthorized structure on the government property on 13th February,07 without any lawful authority and most illegally. One Dulal Talukder- Treasurer of Bhabanipur Mandir Committee has been manhandled by Major Shafique of Armed forces, while Dulal objected not to demolish the rest houses built for Foreign Guests. The Pujaris and victims are now staying under the open sky.

On receipt of information HRCBM-Dhaka led by advocate Rabindra Ghosh communicated with Mr.Abdul Gani, Deputy Commissioner-Bogra (01713202455), Mr. Zamil Ahmed, Superintendent of Police, Bogra (01713202455), Mr. Ferdous, Upazila Nirbahi Officer (01715041951), Major Shafique (01717600501) and the Officer-in-Charge Mr. Shafiqul Islam (01713374069) over their Cell telephones. All the executives admitted that they have demolished unauthorized structure occupied by the occupants. But on careful scrutiny of the documents available with the Committee members it has been found that all the documents are genuine and the demolished property is a "Debottor Property- deity's property" as per judgment and decree of the Civil court vide Other Suit No. 39 of 2002 pronounced by Md. Atiqur Rahman, Joint District Judge, Court No.1 Bogra dated 31.08.05.

The Judgment of court is as follows: -

"that the suit be decreed on contest against the contesting defendants and exparte against the rests without cost. It is hereby declared that the land of shecule "ka" to the plaint measuring 17.31 acres is the Debottor property of the Deity Sree Sree Ma Bhabani and it is not the khas land of the government. It also declared that if any document is executed and registered by the government-defendants in respect of the said suit-land in favor of any third party will be treated as void, inoperative, illegal and of no legal effect."

The above court's order has been communicated to the administrative authority in time for necessary records and action. But it is unfortunate that the local administration most illegally land without any legal authority with active collusion with government officials demolished the structure of Mandir premises which caused a serious tension amongst the Minority Hindu communities of Bhabanipur-Sherpur P.S. Bogra.

HRCBM-Dhaka talked with O.C. Sherpur Police station and apprised him the situation, but the O.C. only noted down HRCBM's concern in his general diary entry No.662 dated 20-02.2007, but he did not take any remedial measures till writing of the report.

On that day, a Colonel Mostafizur Rahaman from Bogra made a telephone call to Advocate Rabindra Ghosh and he wanted to know as to why advocate Ghosh is so much interested with the matter relating to demolition of Mandir premises. Advocate Ghosh politely told him that, as there is court's order, no administrative authority have got right to intervene with the Debottor Property. Henceforth, the act committed by the Armed forces is illegal and without any lawful authority. Mr. Mostafizur became angry with Advocate Ghosh and warned him not to instruct any officers in future during their course of official works.

As the case developed and recovery of the historic temple progressed, annoyed local official along with the help from joint armed forces filed the case against Advocate Rabindra Ghosh alleging his work anti state. Today (7th August, 07), police knocked the door of Advocate Rabindra Ghosh giving him 24 hours to comply with arrest warrant.

Malicious Intention of Bangladesh Law Enforcement Agency

With sheer disappointment we have to assert that despite interim Government's good intention to uphold rule of law, a group of officers within armed forces, local administrations and police in Bangladesh are misusing emergency power to confiscate land and indulge in rein of terror against minorities in the country.

The arrest warrant issued by local Magistrate in a false case against our renowned human rights activist Advocate Rabindra Ghosh is just another example of the grand design to annihilate minorities of Bangladesh and prevent rights advocacy for the marginalized people of Bangladesh.

SUGGESTED ACTION:
Please immediately write to the relevant authorities listed below demanding an immediate, impartial and thorough investigation into this case. Please urge them to arrest the alleged perpetrators and bring them to justice as soon as possible.

Sample letter:

Dear _________,

BANGLADESH: False case and arrest warrant against Human Rights activist Advocate Rabindra Ghosh

Name of victim: Advocate Rabindra Ghosh, President HRCBM-Dhaka Chapter, Bangladesh
Alleged perpetrators: Upazilla Nirbahi Officer, District Commissioner and Colonel Mostafizur Rahaman, Joint Armed Forces.
Date of incident: Reportedly arrest warrant was issued today dated 7th August, 07.
Place of arrest: Western Bazaar area of Moulovibazar town

I am deeply concerned by the false case and alleged arrest warrant against President of HRCBM-Dhaka, Bangladesh and well known human rights activist advocate Rabindra Ghosh.

According to the information I have received, the victim was given 24 hours to comply by Bogra police personnel who visited advocate Ghosh's house this morning.

In light of the above, I strongly urge you to:

1. Immediately order an impartial and thorough investigation into this case and bring the alleged perpetrators before Justice.
2. Provide appropriate compensation and legal remedies to the victim's family as well remove all cases against advocate Rabindra Ghosh.
3. Take all necessary measures to guarantee physical and psychological integrity of advocate Rabindra Ghosh.
4. Order immediate removal of all charges in the absence of valid legal charges that are consistent with international law and standards.
5. Ensure the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms throughout the country in accordance with national laws and international human rights standards.

Lastly, I urge the Government of Bangladesh, as a state party to the Convention Against Torture (CAT), to strictly implement the convention into local level and criminalize torture committed by its law enforcement officers without further delay.

Yours sincerely,

PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. Dr. Fakhruddin Ahmed
Chief Adviser
Government of the People\\'s Republic of Bangladesh
Office of the Chief Advisor Tejgaon
Dhaka
BANGLADESH
Tel: +880 2 8828160-79, 9888677
Fax: +880 2 8113244 or 3243 or 1015 or 1490

2. Barrister Moinul Hossain
Adviser
Ministry of Law, Justice & Parliamentary Affairs
Bangladesh Secretariat
Dhaka-1000
BANGLADESH
Tel: +88-02-7160627 (O)
Fax: +88-02-7168557 (O)

3. General Moeen U Ahmed
Chief of Army Staff
Bangladesh Army
Army Headquarters
Dhaka Cantonment
Dhaka
BANGLADESH
Tel: +880 2 9870011
Fax: +880 2 8754455

4. Barrister Fida M Kamal
Attorney General of Bangladesh
Office of the Attorney General
Supreme Court Building
Ramna, Dhaka-1000
BANGLADESH
Tel: +880 2 9562868
Fax: +880 2 9561568

5. Mr. Nur Mohammad
Inspector General of Police (IGP)
Bangladesh Police
Police Headquarters'
Fulbaria, Dhaka-1000
BANGLADESH
Tel: +880 2 9562054 or 7176451 or 7176677
Fax: +880 2 9563362 or 9563363

6. M. Humayun Kabir
Ambassador
Bangladesh Embassy in Washington DC
3510, International Drive NW
Washington, DC 20008, USA
Telephone: (202) - 244 - 0183
Fax :(202) - 244 - 2771/7830

7. Ms. Hina Jilani
Special Representative of the Secretary General for human rights defenders
Att: Mara Steccazzini
Room 1-040
C/o OHCHR-UNOG
1211 Geneva 10
SWITZERLAND
Tel: +41 22 917 93 88
Fax: +41 22 917 9006 (ATTN: SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS)

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Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrchk.org)

Document Type :
Forwarded Urgent Appeal
Document ID :
FA-006-2007
Countries :
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