BANGLADESH: Man arrested over false charges dies in police custody


Urgent Appeal Case: UA-338-2007
ISSUES: Death in custody,

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) writes to inform you that a man, Morshed Rana, died in police custody following his arrest on false charges on 28 October 2007. The police tried to cover up his death by claiming that he either fell sick or had been injured after jumping from a police car with handcuffs on. However, the victim’s brother and mother witnessed the police torturing him inside the police station before he died. The victim’s body also had injuries of severe beatings. Those involved have already been charged and suspended. However, the officers handling the case are attached to the same police station in which the perpetrators are posted.

CASE DETAILS: (Based on the information received from Odhikar)

At around 4:45p.m. on October 28, Morshed Rana went to the Shaheyprotap Bazaar after he was called upon by his former neighbor, Altaf Hossain Shapan. At the time, Morshed’s brother, Masud, was also present while they were discussing the business of renting a truck. He was about to leave when a man claiming to be a police officer suddenly grabbed him by his collar. Morshed tried to break loose but was unable to do so.

Soon after Sub Inspector (SI) Akbar Hossain arrived together in the company of four police constables. It was learned later that the policemen arrested Morshed after he was implicated by Altaf for his supposed involvement in stealing Altaf’s motorcycle. They then took him to the Narshingdi Model Police Station. Masud immediately inform his younger brother, Iqbal Hossain, by phone about their brother’s arrest and instructed him proceed to the police station where he was being held.

At around 5:00p.m., when Iqbal came to the said police station, Morshed and the police officers who arrested him had also just arrived. Upon seeing Iqbal, Morshed tried to give him his mobile phone and wallet after he had alighted from a police car but SI Akbar prevented him. SI Akbar told Iqbal to stay outside the police station.

Meanwhile, Morshed’s mother, Rijia Begum, had also come to the police station after learning about her son’s arrests. There she saw the policemen beating him in plain view. She kneeled down begging SIs Akbar and Motiyar Rahman to stop beating her son but they ignored her. She was instead told to leave the police station. When she refused to leave, SI Akbar grabbed a baton and started hitting her legs, forcing her to leave.

While Iqbal was outside, he saw SIs Akbar and Motiyar taking Morshed inside a room. They hanged Morshed by his hands and started hitting him with a stick. He could see from the outside that the policemen were torturing his brother. The two SIs covered Morshed’s face with a cloth after a police guard had told them that they had been seen from the outside. They nevertheless continued on beating him.

After seeing the incident, Rijia and her son Iqbal, went to a local army camp where they filed a complaint about the incident asking for their intervention, but no immediate action was taken. One of those present was an officer of the detective branch. After filing a complaint, they again return to the police station at 9:00p.m. bringing with them food, bread and bananas, for Morshed. Iqbal tried to serve the food by himself but a female police officer prevented him telling him that the policemen who arrested the victim would serve the food instead. When Iqbal asked whether Morshed was still inside, he was told the policemen had taken him out for investigation.

Rijia later left the police station but Iqbal stayed until 12 midnight. Iqbal had called SI Akbar’s mobile phone several times to ask about his brother’s whereabouts but there was no answer. Iqbal and some of his friends later went back to the Shaheyprotap Bazaar. At around 3:30 a.m., Iqbal received a phone call from his wife informing him that a man had come to their house looking for him. Iqbal instructed his wife to tell the man to come to the Shaheyprotap roundabout instead where they would wait for him. When the man arrived, he informed Iqbal that he had heard about his brother’s death.

When Iqbal inquired at the police station, he was told that his brother had not returned yet. However, a man who identified himself as a journalist informed him on the phone that his brother had already died. He was told that the dead body had been taken to the Dhaka Medical College Hospital. Iqbal went to the hospital after informing his family and relatives regarding Morshed’s death. He arrived there at around 1:00p.m on October 29. There he had found Morshed’s body at the morgue. [Picture]

After learning of Morshed’s death, Rijia also returned to the local army camp informing one of the officers present there that her son had already died. Rijia and Morshed’s wife, Shammi Akhter Shoma (26), also went back to the Narshingdi Model Police Station. While inside, an unnamed person told them that they should not file a case and that they would be given money to settle the matter.

The policemen tried to cover up the victim’s cause of death. In a confession made by S Alam, Officer in Charge (OC) of the said police station, to Sanar Par area under Demra Police Station on October 28, he claimed that Morshed suddenly fell ill when he was taken by SIs Akbar and Motiyar on a mission to recover a stolen motorcycle. They took him to the Dhaka Medical College Hospital but he was already dead on arrival. Also, another report from the local media claimed that Morshed had suffered injuries after jumping from a police car with handcuffs on, suggesting that it could have caused his death.

After the incident, OC S Alam, SIs Motiyar and Akbar, were temporarily suspended from their duties effective October 30 according to Md. Shahabuddin Khan, Police Super of Narshingdi. An investigation committee composed of three persons, headed by the Assistant Police Super Harun-Or-Rashid, has also been created to investigate the case. Two other members were Jashim Uddin, Court Inspector and Nazrul Islam, Officer-in-Charge of the Raypur Police Station. They have been directed to complete their report promptly.

On November 5, a case of unnatural death was filed against those involved at the Narshingdi Model Police Station after a complaint was filed by Morshed’s family. The court also later recommended the filing of a case in court. Those charged at the Chief Judicial Magistrate for violation of sections 302/34 of the Penal Code of Bangladesh were; OC S Alam, SIs Motiyar and Akbar and two civilians, Altaf and his wife Fatema Begum. Fatema also uses another name as Fatema Yasmeen. The couple, who had connections with the police, was allegedly responsible in filing false charges against the victim.

SI Firoze Mollah, investigating officer of the case in Shahbagh Police Station, said that the result of the inquest indicates that Morshed’s body had marks of blood clotting in the region below his waist and had injuries due to severe beatings. It was the said police station who had first conducted the investigation of the case. However, on November 27, it is learned that all the documents involving the case were forwarded to the Narshingdi Model Police Station for reasons that the case has already been filed by their station in court. It was learned that the Shahbagh Police Station no longer have jurisdiction over the case.


According to Morshed’s wife, Shoma, her husband had been earning a living as a truck supervisor. She and her husband rented a flat in a building at the Baniyachar area beside the Rail Station some time ago where they meet Altaf.  Altaf was living with his wife Fatema, in another flat of the same building.

Shoma and Morshed, however, later discovered that Altaf and Fatema were engaged in some illegal activities. Altaf used to hire the service of Morshed in renting truck. Altaf’s wife Fatema allegedly had strong connection with some of the policemen at the Narshingdi Police Station as she allegedly had indecent ‘relationships’ with some of them. In one instance, Altaf urged Morshed to join in his drug business. When Morshed declined, Altaf and Fatema threatened to harass him and his wife using their connections with the police. Altaf and Fatema are said to be working as police informers.

Later on, Morshed and Shoma moved to another flat in Sattar Boarding in Nimtoli Kacha Bazaar area. But even then, Altaf continued threatening them.

On January 2006, Altaf filed a case at the police station claiming his motorcycle had been stolen which resulted to the arrest of four persons. On the same day, Altaf also called Morshed on his mobile phone asking him to come to his house because he would want rent a truck. Upon Morshed’s arrival, Altaf suddenly locked him up in a room and telephoned his wife, Fatema, who was at the time at the police station, instructing her to inform the police to come to their house to arrest Morshed.

Morshed was detained but was released after he posted bail for his temporary release. It was learned later that he had been implicated in Altaf’s complaint of theft. The police also claimed that the four persons whom they arrested implicated him as their accomplice. When he was remanded, the police station demanded money from his family threatening them that he would be tortured if they refused to comply. Shoma gave them over Taka 5000 (USD 72) but they nevertheless tortured him. Morshed was later released on bail and the case was later dropped for lack of substantial evidence.

On May 2007, after the officers of RAB-9 recovered a motorcycle in Bhoirab, the police once again arrested Morshed. But since they could not show proof to implicate him to the theft of motorcycle, they sent him to court and charged him for violation under Section 54 of the Cr. P.C. The court later granted him bail.

On 22 June 2007, another motorcycle theft case was filed against an unnamed accused at the same police station. Morshed was once against arrested and was taken into remand. At the time he was also tortured while in police custody. Soon after Morshed’s lawyer, RR Mallik Nayan, helped his release after posting bail.

According to Mallik, his client was never involved with any cases of motorcycle theft nor was part of group involved in illegal activities. He had been repeatedly arrested in three separate occasions over false charges for reasons that the complainant, Altaf and his wife Fatema, have had connections with the policemen.

Please write letter to the concerned authorities requesting their intervention to ensure the immediate resolution of the case filed against the perpetrators in court. The case should also be transferred from the Narshingdi Model Police Station who is presently handling the case to a credible police’ unit to ensure its impartiality. It is in this police station where the perpetrators were also attached.

The AHRC will also write to the concerned UN agencies for their intervention in this case.

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Dear ____________,

BANGLADESH: Man arrested over false charges dies in police custody

Name of the victim: Morshed Rana, 31 years old, truck supervisor, resident of Sattar Boarding in Nimtoli Kacha Bazaar, Narshingdi
Alleged perpetrators: Sub Inspector (SI) Akbar Hossain and Motiyar Rahman, Officer in Charge (OC) S Alam, attached to the Narshingdi Model Police Station; and two civilians, Altaf Hossain Shapan and his wife, Fatema Begum
Place of incident: Inside the Narshingdi Model Police Station
Date of incident: 28 to 29 October 2007

I am shocked to learn about the death of Morshed Rana, a truck supervisor who had been arrested over false charges and later died in police custody on 29 October 2007. Morshed’s arrest on October 28 has not been the first time. In the past, he had been arrested, tortured and detained in three previous occasions after he had been falsely implicated for theft by a complainant who allegedly had strong connections with the police.

When Morshed was arrested, it was the same complainant, Altaf Hossain Shapan, who had filed false charges implicating him for the supposed theft of his motorcycle in the past. As I have mentioned, similar complaints have also been filed by the same person in the past—in  January 2006, May and June 2007—which have all either been dismissed by the court for lack of evidence, or the victim had no involvement at all. It is disappointing that none of those involved in the past for illegally arresting, torturing, detaining and falsely implicating him for theft had been held accountable.

It is extremely disappointing that once again, on October 28, he had been arrested for similar complaint by similar complainant. I have learned that Sub Inspectors (SIs) Akbar Hossain and Motiyar Rahman and several police constables have arrested him at the Shaheyprotap Bazaar. They immediately took to the Narshingdi Model Police Station where he was subsequently brutally tortured. I have learned that SIs Akbar and Motiyar had the victim hanged by his hand and severely beat with a hard stick.

I have also learned that the victim’s mother, Rijia Begum, and his brother, Iqbal Hossain, have been able to see them torturing him. SI Akbar even hit Rijia’s legs with a baton when she refused to leave the police station. She was begging and kneeled before them to stop hitting his son but they simply ignored her. Meanwhile, Iqbal, also saw his brother being hanged and beaten. The policemen covered the victim’s face with clothe after they were told that they had been seen from outside the police station.

Rijia and Iqbal then filed a complaint with a local army camp but they did not take immediate action. They return to the police station later bringing with them food for the victim but they were also prevented from serving it to him. I have learned it was only the following day, October 29, when they were informed of the victim’s death by another person. They later found the victim’s body at a morgue in Dhaka Medical College Hospital.

However, I have learned that the police, in particular OC S Alam, tried to cover-up the cause of victim’s death. In his confession given to the police, he claimed that Morshed suddenly fell ill while SIs Akbar and Motiyar were taking him on a mission to recover a supposed stolen motorcycle. He said that the victim was already dead when they arrived at the hospital. In another report, the local media indicates also the victim suffered injuries after he purportedly jumped out of the police car with his handcuffs on that could have cause his death.

Though police’ claims had been rejected as the Chief Judicial Magistrate had already recommended the filing of charges against the policemen and other civilians for the victim’s death and arrest, I am deeply concerned that the police unit where the perpetrators are attached have instead been allowed to handle the case. I am concerned that any further investigation of the case would not be impartial if it were allowed to continue.

Also, I urge you to ensure that the complaint against those involved is immediately and appropriately acted upon by the court. While I welcome the imposition of sanctions against those involved, by suspending them from regular duties, I also urged you to take adequate actions to ensure that the victim’s family is afforded with appropriate compensation.

The victim’s death has had tremendous consequence to the daily survival of his family, in particular his two daughters. I have learned that Morshed was the family’s breadwinner, and that his death would cause further suffering to his family’s survival. I urge you to take adequate measures to alleviate the family’s condition.

Yours sincerely,


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

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

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

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

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID : UA-338-2007
Countries : Bangladesh,
Issues : Death in custody,