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BANGLADESH: Rapid Action Battalion shot innocent college student into permanent disability and now threatening sympathizers to kill extra-judicially

April 9, 2011

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION-URGENT APPEAL PROGRAMME

Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-075-2011



9 April 2011
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BANGLADESH: Rapid Action Battalion shot innocent college student into permanent disability and now threatening sympathizers to kill extra-judicially

 

ISSUES: Illegal arrest; arbitrary detention; torture; fabricated charges; death threat; intimidation; impunity; rule of law
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Dear friends,

AHRC-UAC-075-2011-01.jpgThe Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received credible information that the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) has shot a juvenile college student causing a permanent disability in Jhalkathi district. On 23 March 2011, a team of the RAB-8 stopped 16-year-old Limon Hossen, who was an examinee of the Higher Secondary Certificate near to his house and him in his thigh on the suspicion that he was a terrorist. As a result of this deliberate shooting the left leg of Limon has been amputated by the doctors of the National Institute of Traumatology, Orthopedic and Rehabilitation (NITOR) as all the tissues were found completely damaged. The RAB, which is reputed to be the "official death squad of the Bangladesh Government", has now blocked off the whole ward of the hospital denying all the attendants of the patients at the hospital. The plain-clothed members of the RAB are intimidating and threatening the relatives, neighbours, journalists, lawyers and human rights defenders who are supporting the victim financially to receive treatment and express sympathy to the family. People of the victim's neighbourhood are now hiding to save their life in fear of extrajudicial killing at the hands of the RAB. Please intervene immediately into this matter urging the authorities of Bangladesh to stop harassment by the RAB and prosecute the perpetrators.

CASE NARRATIVES: (Based on interviews with the victim, witnesses, and examination of relevant documents)

Md. Limon Hossen, a 16-year-old student of the Kathalia P. G. S. Multilateral High School and College and an examinee of the (currently ongoing) Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) examination under the Bangladesh Technical Education Board of Dhaka. Limon's family lives in Saturia village under the jurisdiction of the Rajapur police station in Jhalkathi district. His father Mr. Tofazzel Hossen is a day-labourer by profession while his mother Mrs. Henoara Begum is a housewife.

On 23 March 2011, at around 3:30pm, Limon was asked by his mother to bring the family’s cattle from the bank of the Sondha river where three cows were left for grazing. At around 4pm, while returning home Limon was stopped by a group of nine persons riding three motorbikes (three persons on each bike). Among them one man was plain clothed while the rest eight were wearing the black uniform of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB).



The plain clothed man, who was later identified as Md. Lutfor Rahman, Deputy Assistant Director (DAD) of the Crime Prevention Company No. 01 of the RAB-8 based in Barisal city, asked Limon's name and started beating accusing him (Limon) to be a 'terrorist'. Limon, who used to manage his tuition fees by working as part-time labourer at local brick factory due to his family's unaffordability, claimed that he was student informing the name of his college. He also requested the RAB men to contact the principal of the Kathalia P. G. S. Multilateral School and College to verify his studentship. DAD Lutfor and his colleagues denied to accept Limon's statement and attempted to kill him by pointing gun at him. Limon cried in fear and requested the RAB personnel for not to kill him. Suddenly, DAD Lutfor shot him pointing gun in his left thigh. Limon fell on the ground and lost his sense. The news of Limon's shooting at Limon in broad day light reached his relatives and neighbours immediately. Limon's mother Mrs. Henoara Begum along with his uncle Moazzem Hossen rushed to the scene and saw that Limon was bleeding from his left leg. When the mother and uncle cried out for help for saving the life of Limon the members of the RAB prevented them from approaching Limon. The RAB members started beating Moazzem. DAD Lutfor grounded Moazzem and stood on Moazzem's head and neck with Lutfor's boot while the other colleagues held his hands and legs in order to stop Moazzem's movement.

The RAB personnel took off the lungi (a clothed worn by males in Bangladesh and few neighbouring countries) from Limon's body making his body naked. They put the lungi on the blood, which came out from Limon's body, and stamped with their boots to wipe the blood from the ground with the lungi and threw the blood-soaked cloth into the river.

The RAB personnel took off Limon's shirt to tie up the bullet wound. After about two hours four persons carried Limon's body to a boat at a nearby boat pier and asked the boatman Mr. Munsef to play the boat, which left for unknown place.


The family became worried about Limon's fate and the deteriorating health condition of Moazzem, who was critically injured due to torture by the RAB. They took Moazzem to the Kawkhali hospital for treatment. They learned from the eyewitnesses that a black pickup van of the RAB took away Limon's body from a pier near to Jamaddar Bari. Since then, Limon's whereabouts remained unknown to the family. Later, in the evening, Limon found himself at the Sher-E-Bangla Medical College Hospital in Barisal city when he returned to his sense.

In the late night, DAD Lutfor filed two criminal cases (No. 10 and 11) with the Rajapur police station accusing Limon and seven others claiming an incident of encounter between a so called group of terrorists and the RAB-8, which is habituated to publicize fake stories of encounter since its inception.

The first case (First Information Report- FIR No. 10 of the Rajapur police station, dated 23 March 2011) was registered under Sections 19 A and 19 F of the Arms Act-1878. In this case DAD Lutfor claimed that a group of terrorists of the Shahid Jomaddar's gang opened gun fire targeting the RAB team when the latter reached Shahid Jomaddar's house. RAB responded the gunshots by firing from their own pistols and Stenguns. The terrorists escaped except one person named Limon, who had a bullet wounds in his left thigh, with a USA-made pistol and magazines in his possession.

The second case (First Information Report- FIR No. 11 of the Rajapur police station, dated 23 March 2011) was registered under Sections 322, 353, 307 and 34 of the Penal Code-1860 for obstructing the law-enforcement agencies to discharge their duties and attempting to murder.

In both complaints the RAB's DAD Lutfor claimed Limon's age as 25 years despite the fact that according to the official records Limon's age is 16 years and 3 months only. They have also insisted the hospital staffs to record the same age of Limon when he was brought to the Sher-E-Bangla Medical College Hospital in Barisal.

On 24 March, at 10am Limon's family came to know that Limon had been admitted to the Sher-E-Bangla Medical College Hospital in Barisal. When the relatives went to the hospital they saw four armed men of the RAB cordoned Limon at Bed No. 11 of the Surgical Ward No. 27. The RAB men refused Limon's father Mr. Tofazzel to see his son. Limon's mother Mrs. Henoara, as a form of extreme submissiveness and request, held legs of the on-duty RAB personnel requesting them to allow her to see her son. Then, they allowed Henoara to go to see her son, but after a short while they kicked out her from the hospital. The family learned that Limon was admitted to the Sher-E-Bangla Medical College Hospital at 8pm on 23 March, after four hours of the shooting Limon by the RAB.

After the midnight of 24 March, the doctors of the Sher-E-Bangla Medical College Hospital confirmed that they were unable to cure Limon, who had a perforation in his left thigh due to bullet wounds. On 25 March, the doctors referred Limon to the National Institute of Cardiovascular Disease (NICVD) for better treatment. The doctors of the Sher-E-Bangla Medical College Hospital implied that Limon's condition was critical and life-threatening for which huge amount of money will be required to save his life. The family became worried about money. The people of Limon's neighbourhood donated money for his treatment although it was not enough that compelled the helpless family to borrow money mortgaging a piece of land.

On 26 March evening, the Rajapur police cordoned by Constables Aftab and Abdur Rashid took Limon to the NICVD in the city of Dhaka by an ambulance forcing Limon's family to pay BDT 5,500.00 for the fare of the ambulance. When Limon was taken to the NICVD early in the morning of 27 March the doctors further referred him to the National Institute of Traumatology, Orthopedic and Rehabilitation (NITOR) for required treatment.

On 27 March, the doctors of the NITOR operated on Limon's left and finally amputated it from the thigh of which all the tissues were found completely damaged due to bullet wounds. Limon has been under treatment of the doctors of the NITOR, who imposed all the expenditure of Limon's surgery upon the family.

The members of the RAB cordoned the hospital after Limon had been taken to the NITOR and continued surveillance.

On 6 April, a leading national daily newspaper published a detailed report about the incident with a picture of Limon's amputated leg. Since the media report the RAB and police forced the authorities of the NITOR to lock the hospital ward where Limon was admitted. All the doors of the ward were locked from inside expelling the relatives of other patients and denying entry to visitors at that ward. The journalists, human rights defenders and lawyers were refused entry to the hospital by the uniformed and plain-clothed members of the RAB and the police. The Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of Bangladesh Prof. Mizanur Rahman has only been allowed to visit Limon, who described the story to him. The NHRC Chairman suggested the parents of Limon to file complaints to seek justice from the court of law.

Following the suggestion of the NHRC Chairman when Limon's relatives tried to consult with lawyers regarding filing complaint with the local Court of Magistrate of Jhalkathi district the members of the RAB have started intimidating and threatening everyone of the whole area in Jhalkathi including the journalists, lawyers, relatives and neighbours for expressing their opinion regarding the barbarity of this paramilitary force, which has earned reputation of an "official death squad of the Bangladesh Government".

Moreover, the officials of the RAB have been calling many people over cell phones asking them to go to the office of the RAB-8 and keep silent about the case of Limon. A large number of plain-clothed members of the RAB have been staying in Saturia village and collecting the names of and other particulars of the persons, who have already shared their views with the newspapers and donated money to Limon's family for his treatment. The well-wishers and neighbours of Limon have now been forced to go in hiding in fear of extrajudicial killing by the RAB.

Additionally, the plain-clothed members of the RAB have cordoned the Ward of the NITOR denying entry of the attendants of the patients, who have been helpless for getting food, medicine and assistance for using washrooms while hospital does not provide adequate support and care of the patients.

Limon's father Mr. Tofazzel Hossain told the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) that his family has seen an unimaginable disaster due to the atrocities of the RAB (Tofazzel's audiovisual interviews are available here: video clip-1 and video clip-2). He pointed out that, firstly, his son, who had passion of maintaining study by part-time working in brick factory, has been a physically disabled for his whole life. Secondly, as a day labourer Tofazzel cannot afford the high expenditure of medical treatment of his son as the public hospital asked his family to buy all medicines and necessary tools for the surgery and the post-operation medical treatment. He has already spent BDT 150,000.00 for his son's treatment, which has also been cordially supported by the people of all walks of his native village and by selling a piece of his land. He is highly confused about the fate of his son as the family's affordability is on the verge of its last limit. Thirdly, Tofazzel's hope for getting justice has been diminishing due to continuous threats and intimidations by the RAB to his relatives, neighbours and other professionals who have expressed their sympathy to his family. Tofazzel asked when the AHRC interviewed him, "Can anyone imagine how we have been suffering from this disastrous situation? Is there any mechanism to stop the barbarity of the RAB in this country?"

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has learned there is another person named Limon Hossain Jamaddar, who lives in Dhaka and reportedly employed in a private company, in the area where Limon was shot by the RAB-8 on 23 March 2011. This Limon Hossain Jomaddar, aged around 25 years, is a son of Mr. Kamrul Jamaddar, having a relationship with Mr. Shahid Jamaddar whom the RAB team accused in the two criminal cases lodged after shooting Limon Hossen, who is 16-year-old college student.

The Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), which is termed as an "elite force" by the Government of Bangladesh, did not bother for verifying the identity of a targeted person regardless whether the person concerned is innocent or involved in any kind of offence due to its extreme lack of minimum efficiency of law-enforcement.

SUGGESTED ACTION:
Please urge the authorities of Bangladesh to launch a thorough investigation into the matter immediately asking them to prosecute the perpetrators for the crime beyond any impunity. The victim, his relatives and well-wishers must be protected from any further attacks or harassment by the Rapid Action Battalion or the police. Adequate compensation should be afforded to the victim. The two fabricated cases that have already registered against Limon Hossen by the RAB must be dropped. The RAB should be disbanded immediately for committing such heinous crimes.

Please note that the AHRC has already written separate letters to the UN Special Rapporteurs on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Punishment or Treatment and Rights of the Children calling for their intervention into this matter.

To support this appeal, please click here:

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear ___________,

BANGLADESH: Rapid Action Battalion shot innocent college student into permanent disability and now threatening sympathizers to kill extra-judicially

Name of victim: Md. Limon Hossain, aged 16 years, son of Mr.Tofazzel Hossain and Mrs. Henoara Begum, living in Chhaturia village under the jurisdiction of the Rajapur police station of Jhalkathi district

Alleged perpetrators:
1. Md. Lutfor Rahman, Deputy Assistant Director (DAD) ID No. 5926
2. Md. Hasan Habib, Sub Inspector (SI)
3. Md. Harun-ur-Rashid, Police Constable (PC) ID No. 30264
4. Md. Jahangir Hossain, Assistant Sub Inspector (ASI) ID No. 5515
5. Mr. Tarek Aziz, ASI ID No. 378
6. Mr. Muktadir Hossain, Nayek ID No. 63165
7. Md. Tanzir Ahmed, AB 2006475
8. Mr. Kartik Prohlad Chandra, Nayek ID No. 546
9. Md. Anis Mollah, Sipahi ID No. 30711
10. Shri Kartik Kumar Bisaws, Soldier ID No. 1812201
11. Md. Mazharul Islam, Corporal ID No. 46660
12. Md. Abdul Aziz, Constable ID No. 4590

All are attached to Crime Prevention Company (CPC) 01 of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB)-8 based in Barisal district

Date of incident: 23 March 2011
Place of incident: Street of Saturia village under the jurisdiction of Rajapur police station of Jhalkathi district

I am raising my serious concern over the latest incident of shooting an innocent college student into permanent physical disability by the members of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) in Saturia village under the jurisdiction of the Rajapur police station in Jhalkathi distirict on 23 March 2011. Mr. Limon Hossain has been currently under treatment at the National Institute of Traumatology, Orthopedic and Rehabilitation (NITOR) after having his left leg amputated from the thigh due to complete damage of all the tissues of the thigh area as a result of gun shot by the RAB. I demand a thorough immediate investigation by competent judicial officers into this incident followed by prosecution of the perpetrators who are attached to the RAB-8, based in Barisal city of Bangladesh.

I have learned from the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) that Md. Limon Hossain, a 16-year-old student of the Kathalia P. G. S. Multilateral High School and College and an examinee of the (currently ongoing) Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) examination under the Bangladesh Technical Education Board of Dhaka. Limon's family lives in Saturia village under the jurisdiction of the Rajapur police station in Jhalkathi district. His father Mr. Tofazzel Hossen is a day-labourer by profession while his mother Mrs. Henoara Begum is a housewife.

On 23 March 2011, at around 3:30pm, Limon was asked by his mother to bring the family’s cattle from the bank of the Sondha river where three cows were left for grass. At around 4pm, while returning home Limon was stopped by a group of nine persons riding three motorbikes as three persons in each bike. Among them one man was plain clothed while the rest eight were wearing the black uniform of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) all of whose identity has been mentioned above.

The plain clothed man, who was later identified as Md. Lutfor Rahman, Deputy Assistant Director (DAD) of the Crime Prevention Company No. 01 of the RAB-8 based in Barisal city, asked Limon's name and started beating accusing him (Limon) to be a 'terrorist'. Limon, who used to manage his tuition fees by working as part-time labourer at local brick factory due to his family's unaffordability, claimed that he was student informing the name of his college. He also requested the RAB men to contact the principal of the Kathalia P. G. S. Multilateral School and College to verify his studentship. DAD Lutfor and his colleagues denied to accept Limon's statement and attempted to kill him by pointing gun at him. Limon cried in fear and requested the RAB personnel for not to kill him. Suddenly, DAD Lutfor shot him pointing gun in his left thigh. Limon fell on the ground and lost his sense. The news of shooting at Limon in broad day light reached to his relatives and neighbours immediately. Limon's mother Mrs. Henoara Begum along with his uncle Moazzem Hossen rushed to the scene and saw Limon was bleeding from his left leg. When the mother and uncle cried out for help for saving the life of Limon the members of the RAB resisted them from approaching toward Limon. The RAB members started beating Moazzem. DAD Lutfor grounded Moazzem and stood on Moazzem's head and neck with Lutfor's boot while the other colleagues held hands and legs in order to stop Moazzem's movement.

The RAB personnel took off the lungi (a clothed worn by male in Bangladesh and few neighbouring countries) from Limon's body making his body naked. They put the lungi on the blood, which came out from Limon's body, and stamped with their boots to wipe the blood from the ground with the lungi and threw the blood-soaked cloth into the river.

The RAB personnel took off Limon's shirt to tie up the bullet wound thigh of Limon. After about two hours four persons carried Limon's body to a boat at a nearby boat pier and asked the boatman Mr. Munsef to play the boat, which left for unknown place.

The family became worried about Limon's fate and the deteriorating health condition of Moazzem, who was critically injured due to torture by the RAB. They took Moazzem to the Kawkhali hospital for treatment. They learned from the eyewitnesses that a black pickup van of the RAB took away Limon's body from a pier near to Jamaddar Bari. Since then, Limon whereabouts remained unknown to the family. Later, in the evening, Limon found himself at the Sher-E-Bangla Medical College Hospital in Barisal city when he returned to his sense.

In the late night, DAD Lutfor filed two fabricated criminal cases (No. 10 and 11) with the Rajapur police station accusing Limon and seven others claiming an incident of encounter between a so called group of terrorists and the RAB-8, which is habituated to publicize fake stories of encounter since its inception.

The first case (First Information Report- FIR No. 10 of the Rajapur police station, dated 23 March 2011) was registered under Sections 19 A and 19 F of the Arms Act-1878. In this case DAD Lutfor claimed that a group of terrorists of the Shahid Jomaddar's gang opened gun fire targeting the RAB team when the latter reached Shahid Jomaddar's house. RAB responded the gunshots by firing from their own pistols and Stenguns. The terrorists escaped except one person named Limon, who had a bullet wounds in his left thigh, with a USA-made pistol and magazines in his possession.

The second case (First Information Report- FIR No. 11 of the Rajapur police station, dated 23 March 2011) was registered under Sections 332, 353, 307 and 34 of the Penal Code-1860 for obstructing the law-enforcement agencies to discharge their duties and attempting to murder.

In both complaints the RAB's DAD Lutfor fabricated Limon's age as 25 years despite the fact that according to the official records Limon's age is 16 years and 3 months only. The RAB personnel have also insisted the hospital staffs to record the same age of Limon when he was brought to the Sher-E-Bangla Medical College Hospital in Barisal.

On 24 March, at 10am Limon's family came to know that Limon had been admitted to the Sher-E-Bangla Medical College Hospital in Barisal. When the relatives went to the hospital they saw four armed men of the RAB cordoned Limon at Bed No. 11 of the Surgical Ward No. 27. The RAB men refused Limon's father Mr. Tofazzel to see his son. Limon's mother Mrs. Henoara, as a form of extreme submissiveness and request, held legs of the on-duty RAB personnel requesting them to allow her to see her son. Then, they allowed Henoara to go her son, but after a short while they kicked out her from the hospital. The family learned that Limon was admitted to the Sher-E-Bangla Medical College Hospital at 8pm on 23 March, after four hours of the shooting Limon by the RAB.

After the midnight of 24 March, the doctors of the Sher-E-Bangla Medical College Hospital confirmed that they were unable to cure Limon, who had a perforation in his left thigh due to bullet wounds. On 25 March, the doctors referred Limon to the National Institute of Cardiovascular Disease (NICVD) for better treatment. The doctors of the Sher-E-Bangla Medical College Hospital implied that Limon's condition was very much critical and life-threatening for which huge amount of money will be required to save his life. The family became worried about money. The people of Limon's neighbourhood donated money for his treatment although it was not enough that compelled the helpless family to borrow money mortgaging a piece of land.

On 26 March evening, the Rajapur police cordoned by Constables Aftab and Abdur Rashid took Limon to the NICVD in the city of Dhaka by an ambulance forcing Limon's family to pay BDT 5,500.00 for the fare of the ambulance. When Limon was taken to the NICVD early in the morning of 27 March the doctors further referred him to the National Institute of Traumatology, Orthopedic and Rehabilitation (NITOR) for required treatment.

On 27 March, the doctors of the NITOR operated in Limon's left and finally amputated his leg from the thigh of which all the tissues were found completely damaged due to bullet wounds. Limon has been under treatment of the doctors of the NITOR, who imposed all the expenditure of Limon's surgery upon the family.

The members of the RAB cordoned the hospital after Limon had been taken to the NITOR and continued surveillance.

On 6 April, a leading national daily newspaper published a detailed report about the incident with a picture of Limon's amputated leg. Since the media report was published the RAB and police forced the authorities of the NITOR to lock the hospital ward where Limon was admitted. All the doors of the ward were locked from inside expelling the relatives of other patients and denying entry of visitors at that ward. The journalists, human rights defenders and lawyers are refused entry to the hospital by the uniformed and plain-clothed members of the RAB and the police. The Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of Bangladesh Prof. Mizanur Rahman has only been allowed to visit Limon, who described the story to him. The NHRC Chairman suggested the parents of Limon to file complaints to seek justice from the court of law.

Following the suggestion of the NHRC Chairman when Limon's relatives tried to consult with lawyers regarding filing complaint with the local Court of Magistrate of Jhalkathi district the members of the RAB have started intimidating and threatening everyone of the whole area in Jhalkathi including the journalists, lawyers, relatives and neighbours for expressing their opinion regarding the barbarity of this paramilitary force, which has earned reputation of an "official death squad of the Bangladesh Government".

Moreover, the officials of the RAB have been calling many people over cell phones asking them to go to the office of the RAB-8 and keep silence about the case of Limon. A large number of plain-clothed members of the RAB have been staying in Saturia village and collecting the names of and other particulars of the persons, who have already shared their views with the newspapers and donated money to Limon's family for his treatment. The well-wishers and neighbours of Limon have now been forced to go in hiding in fear of extrajudicial killing by the RAB.

Additionally, the plain-clothed members of the RAB have cordoned the Ward of the NITOR denying entry of the attendants of the patients, who have been helpless for getting food, medicine and assistance for using washrooms while hospital does not provide adequate support and care of the patients.

I can understand Limon's family has been going through unimaginable disaster due to the atrocities of the RAB. Limon, who had passion of maintaining study by part-time working in brick factory, has been a physically disabled person for his whole life. Secondly, as a day labourer Tofazzel cannot afford the high expenditure of medical treatment of his son as the public hospital asked his family to buy all medicines and necessary tools for the surgery and the post-operation medical treatment. The family has already spent BDT 150,000.00 for Limon's treatment, which has also been cordially supported by the people of all walks of his native village and by selling a piece of his land. The fate of Limon, who is under the custody of the law-enforcement agencies due to the two fabricated cases against him, is uncertain and as the family's affordability to bear the expenses for treatment is on the verge of its last limit. Thirdly, Tofazzel's hope for getting justice has been diminishing due to continuous threats and intimidations by the RAB to his relatives, neighbours and other professionals who have expressed their sympathy to his family. It is pertinent question to ask that whether there is any mechanism to stop the barbarity of the RAB in Bangladesh at all or not.

I have learned from the AHRC that there is another person named Limon Hossain Jamaddar, who lives in Dhaka and reportedly employed in a private company, in the area where Limon was shot by the RAB-8 on 23 March 2011. This Limon Hossain Jomaddar, aged around 25 years, is a son of Mr. Kamrul Jamaddar, having a relationship with Mr. Shahid Jamaddar whom the RAB team accused in the two criminal cases lodged after shooting Limon Hossen, who is 16-year-old college student.

Ironically, the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) is termed as an "elite force" by the Government of Bangladesh, did not bother for verifying the identity of a targeted person regardless whether the person concerned is innocent or involved in any kind of offence due to its extreme lack of minimum efficiency of law-enforcement.

In light of the above, I urge the authorities of Bangladesh to launch a thorough investigation into the matter immediately. The perpetrators must be prosecuted for the crime beyond any impunity. The victim, his relatives and well-wishers must be protected from any further attacks or harassment by the Rapid Action Battalion or the police. Adequate compensation should be afforded to the victim. The two fabricated cases that have already registered against Limon Hossen by the RAB must be dropped immediately. The RAB should be disbanded immediately for committing such heinous crimes.

I look forward to seeing that action has been taken in this case.

Yours sincerely,

--------------------------------------------------

PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:


1. Mrs. Sheikh Hasina
Prime Minister
Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh
Office of the Prime Minister
Tejgaon, Dhaka
BANGLADESH
Fax: +880 2 811 3244 / 3243 / 1015 / 1490
Tel: +880 2 882 816 079 / 988 8677
E-mail: pm@pmo.gov.bd or ps1topm@pmo.gov.bd or psecy@pmo.gov.bd

2. Mr. A. B. M. Khairul Haque
Chief Justice
Supreme Court of Bangladesh
Supreme Court Building
Ramna, Dhaka-1000
BANGLADESH
Fax: +880 2 956 5058 /+880 2 7161344
Tel: +880 2 956 2792
E-mail: chief@bdcom.com or supremec@bdcom.com

3. Barrister Shafique Ahmed
Minister
Ministry of Law, Justice & Parliamentary Affairs
Bangladesh Secretariat
Dhaka-1000
BANGLADESH
Tel: +880 2 7160627 (O)
Fax: +880 2 7168557 (O)
Email: info@minlaw.gov.bd

4. Ms. Sahara Khatun MP
Minister
Ministry of Home Affairs
Bangladesh Secretariat
Dhaka-1000
BANGLADESH
Tel: +880 2 7169069 (O)
Fax: +880 2 7160405, 880 2 7164788 (O)
E-mail: minister@mha.gov.bd

5. Mr. Mahbubey Alam
Attorney General of Bangladesh
Office of the Attorney General
Supreme Court Annex Building
Ramna, Dhaka-1000
BANGLADESH
Fax: +880 2 956 1568
Tel: +880 2 956 2868

6. Prof. Mizanur Rahman
Chairman
National Human Rights Commission
10th Floor, Gulfeshan Plaza
8, Journalist Selina Parvin Road
Mogbazar, Dhaka
BANGLADESH
Tel: +88 02 8331492
Fax: +88 02 8333219
E-mail: nhrc.bd@gmail.com

7. Mr. Hassan Mahmud Khandker
Inspector General of Police (IGP)
Bangladesh Police
Police Headquarters'
Fulbaria, Dhaka-1000
BANGLADESH
Fax: +880 2 956 3362 / 956 3363
Tel: +880 2 956 2054 / +880 2 717 6451 / +880 2 717 6677
E-mail: ig@police.gov.bd

8. Mr. Md. Mokhlesur Rahman
Director General
Rapid Action Battalion
RAB Headquarter
Uttara, Dhaka
BANGLADESH
Tel: + 880 2 8919078/ 880 2 8961101
Mobile: +8801199886600 / 8801713014050/ 8801713374469
Fax: + 880 2 896 2884
Email: dg_rab@rab.gov.bd


Thank you.

Urgent Appeal Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrc.asia)

http://www.urgentappeals.net/support.php?ua=AHRC-UAC-075-2011

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Extended Introduction: Urgent Appeals, theory and practice

A need for dialogue

Many people across Asia are frustrated by the widespread lack of respect for human rights in their countries.  Some may be unhappy about the limitations on the freedom of expression or restrictions on privacy, while some are affected by police brutality and military killings.  Many others are frustrated with the absence of rights on labour issues, the environment, gender and the like. 

Yet the expression of this frustration tends to stay firmly in the private sphere.  People complain among friends and family and within their social circles, but often on a low profile basis. This kind of public discourse is not usually an effective measure of the situation in a country because it is so hard to monitor. 

Though the media may cover the issues in a broad manner they rarely broadcast the private fears and anxieties of the average person.  And along with censorship – a common blight in Asia – there is also often a conscious attempt in the media to reflect a positive or at least sober mood at home, where expressions of domestic malcontent are discouraged as unfashionably unpatriotic. Talking about issues like torture is rarely encouraged in the public realm.

There may also be unwritten, possibly unconscious social taboos that stop the public reflection of private grievances.  Where authoritarian control is tight, sophisticated strategies are put into play by equally sophisticated media practices to keep complaints out of the public space, sometimes very subtly.  In other places an inner consensus is influenced by the privileged section of a society, which can control social expression of those less fortunate.  Moral and ethical qualms can also be an obstacle.

In this way, causes for complaint go unaddressed, un-discussed and unresolved and oppression in its many forms, self perpetuates.  For any action to arise out of private frustration, people need ways to get these issues into the public sphere.

Changing society

In the past bridging this gap was a formidable task; it relied on channels of public expression that required money and were therefore controlled by investors.  Printing presses were expensive, which blocked the gate to expression to anyone without money.  Except in times of revolution the media in Asia has tended to serve the well-off and sideline or misrepresent the poor.

Still, thanks to the IT revolution it is now possible to communicate with large audiences at little cost.  In this situation there is a real avenue for taking issues from private to public, regardless of the class or caste of the individual.

Practical action

The AHRC Urgent Appeals system was created to give a voice to those affected by human rights violations, and by doing so, to create a network of support and open avenues for action.  If X’s freedom of expression is denied, if Y is tortured by someone in power or if Z finds his or her labour rights abused, the incident can be swiftly and effectively broadcast and dealt with. The resulting solidarity can lead to action, resolution and change. And as more people understand their rights and follow suit, as the human rights consciousness grows, change happens faster. The Internet has become one of the human rights community’s most powerful tools.   

At the core of the Urgent Appeals Program is the recording of human rights violations at a grass roots level with objectivity, sympathy and competence. Our information is firstly gathered on the ground, close to the victim of the violation, and is then broadcast by a team of advocates, who can apply decades of experience in the field and a working knowledge of the international human rights arena. The flow of information – due to domestic restrictions – often goes from the source and out to the international community via our program, which then builds a pressure for action that steadily makes its way back to the source through his or her own government.   However these cases in bulk create a narrative – and this is most important aspect of our program. As noted by Sri Lankan human rights lawyer and director of the Asian Human Rights Commission, Basil Fernando:

"The urgent appeal introduces narrative as the driving force for social change. This idea was well expressed in the film Amistad, regarding the issue of slavery. The old man in the film, former president and lawyer, states that to resolve this historical problem it is very essential to know the narrative of the people. It was on this basis that a court case is conducted later. The AHRC establishes the narrative of human rights violations through the urgent appeals. If the narrative is right, the organisation will be doing all right."

Patterns start to emerge as violations are documented across the continent, allowing us to take a more authoritative, systemic response, and to pinpoint the systems within each country that are breaking down. This way we are able to discover and explain why and how violations take place, and how they can most effectively be addressed. On this path, larger audiences have opened up to us and become involved: international NGOs and think tanks, national human rights commissions and United Nations bodies.  The program and its coordinators have become a well-used tool for the international media and for human rights education programs. All this helps pave the way for radical reforms to improve, protect and to promote human rights in the region.