UPDATE (Bangladesh): Superior police patronise Paikgachha police to continue fabricating charges against detained human rights defenders


Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAU-069-2008
ISSUES: Administration of justice, Arbitrary arrest & detention, Human rights defenders,

Dear friends,

After closely following the case of Razzak and Shankar (please see further: AHRC-UAU-065-2008 and AHRC-UAU-067-2008), the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has been informed that Razzak and Shankar are now detained in the Khulna District Jail, since the evening of 8 November.


The Paikgachha police produced Mr. F M A Razzak and Mr. Shankar Kumar Dhali to the Senior Judicial Magistrate Court of Paikgachha at 3pm on 8 November 2008. Due to the absence of the Magistrate, as Saturday is weekend in Bangladesh, the Court Sub Inspector (CSI) Mr. Isahak went to the residence of the Magistrate and got the documents signed. The Magistrate ordered to continue detaining them in prison. The defence lawyers had no chance to submit a bail petition as the court was officially closed.

After getting the order from the court, the CSI claimed that Razzak and Shankar came so late before the court that they should go back to police custody. Both police officers argued that it was impossible for the police to hand them to the prison authority in Khulna, which is 61 kilometers away from Paikgachha, due to the transportation problem. Due to the fear that Razzak and Shankar are to be held in police custody, their relatives agreed to pay bus fare for Razzak, Shankar and a police, who were assigned to hand them over to the prison authority. But the police constable refused to go by bus. The relatives rented a car at Taka 1,800.00 (USD 26), for a round trip for the police from Paikgachha to Khulna. The police also forced the relatives to pay Taka 1,500.00 (USD 22) for their food and refreshment. At 4pm, the police left for the Khulna District Jail where Rezzak and Shankar were to be detained.

Meanwhile, when the police produced Razzak and Shankar to the court, the Investigation Officer (IO) of the abduction case, Sub Inspector (SI) Mr. Mahbubur Rahman said in his report which was sent to the court that the police obtained information and evidence regarding Razzak’s involvement in the case. However, while the police investigated this case late at night on November 6, no witnesses had allegedly provided such details.

The police officer, who brought abduction charges against them, said in his report that Shankar was not found to be involved in the case. However, the police report differs from the original complaint; the complainant, Mrs. Nilufa (her real name is Johanara Begum) said that Khaleda was found missing after 6pm on October 15, but the police report says that Khaleda was missing between 8am to 6pm of that day.

On November 9, the defence lawyers submitted a petition to the Magistrate seeking bail for Razzak and Shankar but the Magistrate, Mr. Syed Habibul Islam, did not hear the petition and fixed the date of November 12 for hearing the bail petition.

It is reported that the Magistrate announced in an open court a month ago, “If anybody files any case against Razzak, I would issue warrant of arrest without any delay or hesitation”. Immediately after the arrest of Razzak and Shankar, the OC of the Paikgachha police informed the Magistrate over mobile phone. When Razzak and Shankar were brought to the court, the OC privately met with the Magistrate. Both allegedly settled that the two persons be given police remand, which was formally declared in the court.

The defence lawyers suspect that the victims would be charge-sheeted for offenses under Sections 364, 385 and 34 of the Penal Code. First class judicial magistrates do not entertain bail applications by the accused in offences of this nature. The perception they hold, as it is commonly observed in Bangladesh, is that they do not have any power to release a person on bail in offenses that they cannot try in their court. The lawyers also suspect that by all probabilities the bail procedure will be delayed in the Session Judge’s Court of Khulna.

It takes weeks to collect the certified copies of the court order, which also requires bribes. If the Session Judge’s Court does not grant bail, the victims might be detained until the Supreme Court resumes its office in 2009 since the court will be closed for official vacation during the whole month of December. The bail petition may only be heard in late January or February due to other similar cases that have been reported earlier, before the Benches of the High Court Division of the Supreme Court.

Shankar’s relatives allege that they were forced to pay Taka 70,000.00 (USD 1,040) as a bribe to the Paikgachha police during the period of arrest and sending to the Court prior to being detained in the Khulna jail. Razzak’s family has also paid Taka 50,500.00 (USD 750) to the police for the sake of preventing Razzak from being tortured in custody.

The defence lawyers also suspect that the senior police officers, who investigated into this case, are connected to the Paikgachha police and the police have fabricated charges against Razzak. Razzak’s relatives also claim that the investigation report conducted by the Additional Superintendent of Police of Khulna South Zone Mr. Abdul Rouf regarding the abduction case, which was lodged by Mrs. Nilufa (real name is Jahanara Begum) was false. They are worried other fabricated charges may be imposed on Razzak.


Mr. F M A Razzak has helped a defamation case where a woman was targeted and traumatised by two journalists who published the story of her sister, who committed suicide after being raped, in their newspapers.

Ms. Laxmi Rani Mondol, a student, was raped by three youths at 8:30am on 27 May 2002 and committed suicide at 4pm in her room by taking poison. The Paikgachha police did not investigate and only lodged an Unnatural Death (UD) case on May 28, 2002 and the dead body was cremated without postmortem.

Nine months later, her family found her diary describing the incidents of the rape and Laxmi’s elder sister Ms. Tapati Rani Mondol demanded the Paikgachha police that the UD case be changed to a murder case but the police did not. The police allegedly received bribes from the alleged perpetrators of rape.

After Ms. Tapati held a press conference on 7 April 2003 regarding the bias and corruption practice of the police, she lodged a complaint (Complainant Register-C.R. 71/2003 under Section 302 of Penal Code of 1860) asking the Senior Magistrate Court of Paigachha to bring a murder charge against the alleged rapists and the court ordered the police to record it as a First Information Report (FIR) with the Paikgachha police. However, the police did not record it.

A probe committee consisting of officers of the Ministry of Home Affairs and the police, which was formed on 23 May 2003 after Ms. Tapati’s application, investigated this case and ordered the police to record the case as a murder case. The Paikgachha police then recorded it as the FIR (No. 15, dated 25 May 2003). The police arrested five persons for rape and murder who were later given bail from the higher court. (This case is currently pending before the Special Tribunal for the Prevention of Women and Children Repression in Khulna with case number 255/2003).

During this period, two journalist namely Mr. Gazi Md. Mizanur Rahman of the Daily Lokshamaj and Mr. Md. Abdul Gafur of the Daily Anirban contacted Ms. Tapati saying they had good connections with the OC of the Paikgachha Police Station. They assured that they would persuade the OC to properly conduct an investigation and also publish the problems to prosecute the alleged perpetrators in the media if Tapati paid. For this, they extracted around Taka 30,000.00 (USD 445) from Tapati. When Tapati asked the journalists about the progress, the journalists published a series of reports attacking Ms. Tapati personally, which made her stigmatised.

In 2005, Ms. Tapati came and asked for help from Mr. F M A Razzak. Razzak prepared and sent a number of applications to the senior officials of the government, and he also helped Tapati to lodge a defamation case (No. Mani 6/2005) on 11 October 2005 with the Senior Assistant Judge’s Court of Paikgachha against 8 persons: two journalists, alleged perpetrators of the rape case as well as fathers of two alleged perpetrators.

On 25 September 2008, the court ordered the accused to pay compensation of Taka 100,000.00 (USD 1,486) to Tapati with eight percent interest of the amount since the case was lodged with the court. Half of the compensation was directed to the journalists. Tapati has so far received nothing.

It is reported that the police officers, who allegedly received bribes from the perpetrators of the rape case, got annoyed with Razzak for his intervention against the police.


Please send a letter to the relevant Bangladesh authorities listed below urging them to release the two human rights defenders immediately.

The AHRC has written separate letters to the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Special Rapporteur on the Question of Torture, Human Rights Defenders and Independence of Judges and Lawyers, seeking for their urgent intervention in this issue.

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


Dear __________,

BANGLADESH: Superior police patronise Paikgachha police to continue fabricated charge against detained human rights defenders

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. Md. Mahbubur Rahman, 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 concern over the arbitrary arrest and detention of two human rights defenders namely Mr.  F. M. Abdur Razzak and Mr. Shankar Kumar Dhali. The two persons are now detained in the Khulna District Jail since 8 November 2008. From 3 November they were detained in Paikgachha police custody.

The senior police officers are allegedly patronising the Paikgachha police’s intention to continue the fabricated charges against Mr. Razzak.

According to the information I have received, on 8 November 2008 at around 3pm the Paikgachha police produced Razzak and Shankar to the Court after the five-day police remand. The Court Sub Inspector (CSI) Mr. Isahak received the two persons at the Court. In absence of the Magistrate during the weekend he got the documents signed by the Magistrate from his residence. The Magistrate ordered to detain them in prison. There was no chance for the defense lawyers to submit a bail petition as the Court was officially closed.

The police officers of both places – the police station and the Court – intended to detain Razzak and Shankar in the Paikgachha police custody. The police’s argument was that they were unable to travel the 61 kilometres away by bus to hand over the two persons to the Khulna District Jail authority late in the afternoon. The relatives of the detained persons rented a car arranging round trip travel of the police for handing over the two persons to the prison. The police also received Taka 1,500.00 as bribe for this job. The police only agreed to travel to Khulna after all these arrangements.

I have learned that the Investigation Officer (IO) of the alleged abduction case Sub Inspector (SI) Mr. Mahbubur Rahman falsely claims in his report, which was sent to the Magistrate when the two detainees were produced to the court, that Razzak was found involved in the alleged abduction case. The police are falsely claiming this as none of the so called witnesses describe any details to the police about Razzak’s involvement when the police investigated late at night on 6 November.

I am aware that the Additional Superintendent of Police Mr. Abdur Rouf got evidence in his investigation that the alleged abduction case was a false one. It is very frustrating that the police continue harassing the victim despite unavailability of evidence against Razzak’s involvement in this case. This attitude of the police clarifies that the senior police officers patronise the intention of the Paikgachha police to harass Mr. Razzak.

I have learned that the Paikgachha police have already received more than Taka 120,000.00 as bribe from the two persons’ relatives – Taka 70,000.00 from Shankar and Taka 50,500.00 from Razzak, during their detention in the police custody.

I have heard that on 9 November the lawyers applied for bail for the two detainees. The Magistrate Mr. Syed Habibul Islam decided to hear it on 12 November. I have also learned that the same Magistrate announced in an open Court that “If anybody files any case against Razzak, I would issue warrant of arrest without any delay or hesitation”. I wonder whether it is possible to get any remedy from such a Magistrate. I have been informed that the police and the Magistrate have allegedly been trying to prolong the detention of the two persons by lingering the process of hearing the bail petition.

In light of the above information, I urge you to take urgent legal initiatives to release the two human rights defenders immediately. Please launch an investigation involving competent judicial officers in order to unearth the facts relating to this case so that the victims get justice as well as the alleged perpetrators including the corrupt police officers are prosecuted for their respective actions. I also urge you to take legal action against Magistrate Mr. Syed Habibul Islam for his non-judicial actions. The victims must be afforded with adequate compensation for the sufferings they have sustained due to the abuse of power by the police.

Bangladesh, as a member of the Human Rights Council of the UN and a State Party to the ICCPR and CAT, cannot deny its responsibility and obligation to the international human rights standards. The country immediately needs domestic legislation in compliance with the basic principles of human rights of the international instruments. The international community should hold Bangladesh accountable for their consecutive failure of addressing the abuses of human rights to its own people.

I trust that you will take action urgently 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. Mr. Md. Asaduzzaman Mian 
Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG)
Khulna Range 
Office of the DIG of Khulna Range
Fax: +880 41 761300 (O)
Tel: +880 41 761823 (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-069-2008
Countries : Bangladesh,
Campaigns : Attack on FMA Razzak
Issues : Administration of justice, Arbitrary arrest & detention, Human rights defenders,