UPDATE (Bangladesh): Two human rights defenders are at risk of torture in their police remand


Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAU-065-2008
ISSUES: Arbitrary arrest & detention, Corruption, Human rights defenders,

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has been informed that the Paikgachha police of Khulna district arbitrarily arrested and detained two human rights defenders on false charges and allegedly ill treated them on November 3. It is reported that the police had already received a bribe from the wife of one detainee and are now demanding that their relatives pay bribes so that they will not be tortured.


On 2 November 2008, F. M. A. Razzak and Mr. Shankar Kumar Dhali were asked to come to the Agorghata Bazar area the following day to settle a case. The case was lodged by Mrs. Jahanara Begum, who is the second wife of Mr. Abul Hossain Gazi in fake name as Mrs. Nilufa, on the abduction of Abul’s daughter. What needed to be decided was how both groups could agree to withdraw the abduction case from the Courts.

On the morning of November 3, the two men arrived on Shakar’s motorbike at a motor workshop owned by. At 9:30am. While they were waiting for the other party, five police officers, Sub Inspectors (SI) Mr. Ainuddin, Mr. Mahbub, Mr. Shushil, Mr. Ayub and Assistant Sub Inspector (ASI) Mr. Moidul arrived at the place on three motorbikes and asked for the names of Razzak and Shankar. After, responding, the police officers arrested them without a warrant. They were taken to the Paikgachha Police Station on two motorbikes driven by the officers. Shankar’s motorbike was driven by another officer.

After being informed of the arrest, the relatives of the arrested men went to the police station at about 11am. When they asked the men if the police had tortured them in custody they started crying instead of answering the question. The relatives got an impression that the police had already beaten Razzak and Shankar and notices that the men’s faces were unusually swollen. They also observed that the police had taken off the men’s shirts and forced them to sit on the floor. Then, the Officer-in-Charge (OC) Mr. Ali Hashem Khan said to Razzak’s wife, “I am under pressure from the court to arrest him. I did not have any choice but to do this. We will produce him before the courts tomorrow (November 4)”.

At 3:10pm the OC went to visit Birashi village to enquire into the alleged abduction case. He came back 20 minutes later and at 4pm the complaint was recorded as a First Information Report (FIR) (No. 4, under Section 364/34 of the Penal Code).

In the evening, the Government Record Officer (GRO), a police officer dealing with the public records in the Magistrate Court came to the police station to see the arrestees as he had already received information about their arrest. The GRO told the two men that he would meet them at the court on following day. At this time, the OC lied to the relatives that the abduction case was not recorded.

At 8:25pm in local time, the AHRC contacted the OC Mr. Khan and expressed concerns about possible torture and ill-treatment of Razzak and Shankar. The OC would not provide details of the case but assured the AHRC that there would be no torture or ill-treatment against the two. The officers held them over for one night in police custody. No food was provided during their detention. The food that Razzak’s wife prepared and delivered the previous evening was not given to them.

The relatives of Shankar have learned from anonymous police source that the police are planning to implicate him in two other cases. Meanwhile, the relatives of both Razzak and Shankar claim that they were asked for bribes by the police. The police were reportedly trying to keep them in remand through the courts. In this way they are legally entitled to keep them in custody while attempting to negotiate the amount of the bribe.

Neither detainee was brought before the court within the 24 hours period according to law but before the Senior Judicial Magistrate’s Court of Paikgachha at 1pm on November 4. At the court, the police have shown that the FIR was recorded as ‘at 8:45 on November 3″ without mentioning morning or evening. When this was appealed by the defence lawyer that the police arrested them at 9:30am but recorded as at 8:45 in the evening, the OC admitted that two persons were arrested at 9:30am on November 3. The police pleaded for 10 days’ remand for each but were given 5 days’ remand at the same police station.

It is reported that the police received Taka 10,000.00 (USD 149) from Shankar’s relatives on the condition that the police would not torture him during his detention in the police custody in the evening of 3 November. It is also reported that after their remand was given from the court the police are demanding Taka 50,000.00 (USD 745) from their relatives not to torture the detainees during the period of remand.

Their relatives now stay in fear that the police may create another story in order to get those detainees convicted.


Razzak and Shankar have been providing legal advice to Mrs. Khodeza Bibi in a fabricated land case with her neighbours in 2005 where police officers attached to Paikgachha Police Station were allegedly involved receiving bribes from the neighbours. As the neighbours continued to threaten her and demand money from her, a complaint was lodged before the Paikgachha police station (No. 22). When the same case was forwarded to the Senior Judicial Magistrate’s Court of Paikgachha for trial (as Government Record case no. 85/08) the Magistrate ordered to detain the neighbours. After they were released on bail, they cut the trees and bamboos in her land. While Mrs. Khodeza tried to lodge a complaint in this regard to the police station but refused, she lodged a petition to the same court (Petition Case Number-683-08) that ordered the police to record her complaint as a First Information Report on October 15. After this, her neighbours intimidated Mrs. Khodeza and her supporters to take revenge in fabricated charges.

Mr. Abul Hossain Gazi, one of neighbours involved in the case of Mrs. Khodeza, has his second wife Mrs. Jahanara Begum who lodged a complaint before the court on October 22 by using fake name as Mrs. Nulifa. She claimed that she is Abul’s wife and their 13-year-old daughter Ms. Khaleda Khatun was abducted by Mrs. Khodeza Bibi around 6pm on October 15 who demanded Taka 50,000.00 (USD 745) as ransom or, would kill the daughter. Mrs. Nulifa also claimed in her complaint that she found Khodeza had a secret meeting with Mr. Md. Yunus Sardar, Mr. F. M. A. Razzak, Mr. Shankar Dhali, Mr. Alauddin Raza. This led her to suspect all were relevant to her daughter’s abduction. By this, the court ordered the police to investigate her complaint. However, the police neither recorded it as the FIR nor investigated until November 2.

However, Mrs. Hamida Begum, the real mother of Ms. Khaleda Khatun said in an affidavit on October 28 that her former husband was Mr. Abul Hossain Gazi and his second wife Mrs. Jahanara Begum have kept her daughter with a view to taking revenge against Mrs. Khodeza and her supporters. She also claims that Abul confessed to her that the daughter was not abducted but sent to an unidentified place.

A copy of the notarized affidavit was submitted to the Paikgachha police on October 30 informing the OC Mr. Ali Hashem Khan about the conspiracy behind the abduction case. (To see the copy of affidavit of Mrs. Hamida Begum in Bangla, please see affidavit 1 and affidavit 2)


Mr. F. M. A. Razzak as a founding General Secretary cum Director of  the Human Rights Development Centre (HRDC) in Paikhachha has been directly involved in helping a large number of victims of human rights abuses in the area. His work regarding facilitating victims to get available redress from the local courts and the relevant authorities created pressure for the local police, who earlier attempted to implicate Razzak on fabricated charges.

In 2004, the local police misdirected the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) of the Khulna region to arrest him as a so-called criminal. Following immediate intervention from human rights groups, senior officials of the RAB investigated the matter and found Razzak to be innocent. Subsequently they handed him over to the police without any charges being laid against him.

Recently, Razzak and his fellow human rights activist Mr. Shankar Kumar Dhali played very important roles when Sub- Inspector Mr. Manjurul Alam of the Paikgachha police illegally intervened in a land dispute case, which has been pending for trial before the local courts.  They arrested and detained people, extorted bribes as well as ill-treated others, including women belonging to the Hindu community. The AHRC issued an Urgent Appeal on the case that drew the attention of senior police authorities .They ordered a departmental inquiry on the issues. Later, SI Mr. Manjurul was transferred to the Dighalia police station (Please see for further details: AHRC-UAC-061-2008).

The AHRC also issued Urgent Appeals on other cases in that area regarding torture, ill-treatment, manipulation, abuse of power and corruption by the police and the armed forces are: AHRC-UAC-082-2008, AHRC-UAC-053-2008, UA-115-2007, UP-048-2007, UP-049-2006, UP-034-2007. The case of harassment of Razzak and torture of his family can be seen here: UP-035-2007.


Please send a letter immediately to the relevant Bangladesh authorities listed below urging them to release the two human rights defenders immediately. Please also urge them to take urgent measures so that the police do not torture or kill them while in detention.

The AHRC has written a separate letter to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and Special Rapporteur on the Question of Torture as well as Human Rights Defenders seeking their immediate intervention in this issue.

To support this case, please click here: SEND APPEAL LETTER


Dear __________,

BANGLADESH: Two human rights defenders are at risk of torture in their police remand

Name of victims: 
1. Mr. F M Abdur Razzak, aged 42, Editor of the Gonomichhil (a fortnightly newspaper) and General Secretary cum Director of Human Rights Development Centre (HRDC) of Paikgachha, son of Mr. Nur Ali Fakir, living in Godaipur village under the Paikgachha police station in the Khulna district, Bangladesh
2. Mr. Shankar Kumar Dhali, aged 40, a Human Rights Activist, son of late Mr. Surendra Nath Dhali, living in Salubunia village under the Paikgachha police station in the Khulna district, Bangladesh 
Alleged perpetrators: 
1. Mr. Ali Hasem Khan, Inspector of Police and Officer-in-Charge (OC), 
2. Mr. Ainuddin, Sub Inspector of Police,
3. Mr. Mahbub, Sub Inspector of Police,
4. Mr. Shushil, Sub Inspector of Police
5. Mr. Ayub, Sub Inspector of Police
6. Mr. Moidul, Assistant Sub Inspector of Police
(All are attached to the Paikgachha police station of Khulna district)
Date of latest incident of arrest: at 9:30am, 3 November 2008 
Place of incident: Agorghata Bazar and Paikgachha police station in Khulna district, Bangladesh

I am writing to voice my deepest concern over the arbitrary arrest and detention of Mr.  F. M. A. Razzak and Mr. Shankar Kumar Dhali, who are renowned human rights defenders of Paikgachha, by the local police in an alleged abduction charge before it was recorded with the police station and without any warrant of arrest issued from the court. The police have already detained them for more than 24 hours in police custody and have allegedly ill-treated them in custody through forcing them to strip off their shirts and sit on the floor of the custody.

According to the information I have received, on 22 October Mr. Abul Hossain Gazi, who had land dispute and previous enmity with Mrs. Khodeza Begum of Birashi village under the Paikgachha upazilla over cutting off trees from her land, managed a woman named Mrs. Nilufa to lodge a petition case (No. 693/08) with the Senior Judicial Magistrate’s Court of Paikgachha accusing five persons for abducting Abul’s 13-years-old daughter Ms. Khaleda Khatun. In the complaint Nilufa falsely claimed herself as Abul’s wife and Khaleda’s mother and alleged that her daughter was found missing since 6pm on 15 October. She and her (so called) husband Mr. Abul looked for Khaleda in several places and came to know that the daughter was abducted by Mrs. Khodeza and at one point Khodeza claimed Taka 50,000.00 from her on condition of bringing Khaleda back to the family. Nilufa also claims that Mrs. Khodeza had secret meeting with Mr. Yunus Shikdar, Mr. F. M. A. Razzak, Mr. Shankar Kumar Dhali and Mr. Alauddin Raza.

Regarding the petition case the Court ordered the police to investigate into the complaint and record it as a First Information Report on availability of the primary evidence against the complaint; however, the police did not visit the scene of the alleged incident or conduct any investigation until 3 November morning and also did not report the court about recording the case.

On the other hand, Mr. Abul Hossain’s first wife Mrs. Hamida Begum, who is the original mother Ms. Khaleda Khatun, said completely a different version in an affidavit certified by Notary Public Mr. Samir Kumar Biswas on 28 October. Hamida claims that Khaleda used to stay with her father Abul and step mother Jahanara Begum in her husband’s house in Birashi village while she had been staying in her own parent’s house as a result of problems of with Abul due to his radically bad activities as well as the aggressive actions of his second wife. Following her queries to Abul on the whereabouts of Khaleda her husband confessed that the daughter was sent to a secret place for few days with an intention to take vengeance upon his enemies by lodging a petition case (No. 693/08, on 22 October) with the Court against a number of persons. Abul assured Hamida that once the purpose is achieved Khaleda will be brought back home.

On 2 November, Abul asked Razzak and Shankar to sit for arbitration on the following morning at Agorghata Bazar of Paikgachha. Accordingly, on 3 November morning, Razzak and Shankar went to the place and waiting in a motor workshop for the other group. At 9:30am, five police officers namely Sub Inspectors (SI) Mr. Ainuddin, Mr. Mahbub, Mr. Shushil, Mr. Ayub and Assistant Sub Inspector (ASI) Mr. Moidul arrived to the place by three motorbikes and asked names to Razzak and Shankar. As soon as both persons told their names the police picked them up in two motorbikes driven by the police officers. Mr. Shankar’s motorbike was driven by another police officer to the police station.

At about 10am, the police arrived in the police station. At around 11am, the Officer-in-Charge (OC) of the Paikgachha police station Mr. Ali Hashem Khan told the wife of Mr. Razzak, “I am under pressure from the court to arrest him. I did not have any option but doing this. We would produce him before the Court tomorrow (4 November).” However, it is evident that the court has yet issued any warrant of arrest against these two persons on the said abduction case.

Instead of producing them before the local Judicial Magistrate’s Court on specific charge as there was enough time in the whole day, the police arbitrarily detained them in their own custody for the whole day. 
At 3:10pm the OC left the police station to visit Birashi village by a motorbike to enquire into the alleged abduction case and came back to his office after 20 minutes. The complaint of abduction was recorded as a First Information Report (FIR) (number: 4, under Section 364/385/34 of the Penal Code) at about 4pm showing a back date as if the FIR was recorded in the afternoon of 2 November. It is clear that the police have abused their power by recording the complaint in a back date.

When visited the police station the relatives of Razzak and Shankar witnessed that faces of both persons were unusually swollen, their shirts were taken off from their bodies and they were forced to sit on the floor of the custody. When the relatives asked whether the police tortured Razzak and Shankar in custody, both persons started crying instead of answering the question. On this the relatives got an impression that the police have already beaten Razzak and Shankar in custody. Since the morning the police did not provide them any food in the whole day and also denied Razzak’s wife to give food when she brought food from her house in the evening.

The police have allegedly been claiming bribes from the relatives on condition of not using torture and taking both persons in police remand through the court. The families of Razzak and Shankar fear that if the police are able to bring the two persons in remand the police will use brutal torture that may cause their death in the custody, and if the persons survive police may implicate them in several fabricated charges.

I have learned that Razzak and Shankar have been detained in Paikgachha police custody since 10am of 3 November and the police did not produce them before the court until 1pm on 4 November. I am aware that it is violation of Article 33(2) of the Constitution of Bangladesh and Section 61 the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1898 where the police have obligation to produce arrested persons within 24 hours of arrest.

I, therefore, urge you to take immediate action into this case and take punitive measure to hand over the two human rights defenders to Magistrate and ensure their release from the custody. I strongly urge you to drop the charge fabricated against them as the mother of the so called abduction victim officially claims that her daughter was not abducted by these persons at all. The police officers who abused their power to arrest Razzak and Shankar without any warrant from the Court and recorded the abduction case mentioning a back date must be held accountable and prosecuted for their illegal actions and violation of fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution of Bangladesh. The victims must be afforded adequate compensation for the suffering they have sustained.

I condemn the failure of the authorities of Bangladesh to fulfill their obligation to protect the basic human rights of the citizens and stopping the recurrence of human rights abuses at the hands of the law enforcement agencies and security forces. The country, as a member of the UN Human Rights Council and a State Party to the ICCPR and CAT, cannot deny its responsibility and obligation to the international human rights standards by incorporating the basic provisions in the domestic legislations. The international community should hold Bangladesh accountable for their consecutive failure of addressing the abuses of human rights to its own people.

I look forward your urgent intervention in this matter.
Yours sincerely,


1. Dr. Fakhruddin Ahmed
Chief Adviser 
Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh
Office of the Chief Advisor
Tejgaon, Dhaka 
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. M M Ruhul Amin
Chief Justice
Supreme Court of Bangladesh
Supreme Court Building
Ramna, Dhaka-1000
Fax: +880 2 956 5058
Tel: +880 2 956 2792

3. Mr. A F Hassan Arif
Ministry of Law, Justice & Parliamentary Affairs
Bangladesh Secretariat
Tel: +880 2 7160627 (O)
Fax: +880 2 7168557 (O)

4. Major General (Rtd.) M. A. Matin
Ministry of Home Affairs
Bangladesh Secretariat
Tel: +880 2 7169069 (O)
Fax: +880 2 7160405, 880 2 7164788 (O)

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

6. Mr. Nur Mohammad
Inspector General of Police (IGP) 
Bangladesh Police
Police Headquarters’
Fulbaria, Dhaka-1000
Fax: +880 2 956 3362 / 956 3363
Tel: +880 2 956 2054 / 717 6451 / 717 6677
E-mail: ig@police.gov.bd 

7. Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG)
Khulna Range 
Office of the DIG of Khulna Range
Tel: +880 41 761823 (O) 
Fax: +880 41 761300 (O)
E-mail: digkhulna@police.gov.bd 

Thank you.

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

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Update
Document ID : AHRC-UAU-065-2008
Countries : Bangladesh,
Issues : Arbitrary arrest & detention, Corruption, Human rights defenders,