UPDATE (Bangladesh): Police defy High Court order by continuing to make threats
April 13, 2006
UPDATE ON URGENT APPEAL UPDATE ON URGENT APPEAL UPDATE ON URGENT APPEAL
ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION - URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME
Update on Urgent Appeal
13 April 2006
[RE: UP-062-2006: BANGLADESH: Harassment and threats continue towards victim despite a High Court ruling ordering the alleged perpetrators to stop; UP-058-2006: BANGLADESH: Police seriously intimidate and threaten victim, her husband and her witnesses; UA-105-2006: BANGLADESH: Pregnant woman tortured by police in Dhaka]
UP-083-2006: BANGLADESH: Police defy High Court order by continuing to make threats
BANGLADESH: Torture; arbitrary arrest; harassment; lack of witness protection; intimidation; threats; collapse of rule of law
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received updated information regarding the case of Mrs. Shahin Sultana Santa, a woman who we reported was tortured by the police in Dhaka, despite being pregnant and who has since had three fabricated cases filed against her and who is now receiving credible threats by her alleged perpetrators. We have now learned that the medical doctor of the Dhaka Medical College Hospital, who treated Santa, requested her to return her medial certificate as a result of threats made against him by the police. We have also learned that following a request by the investigation officer of one of Santa's cases to bring the witnesses before him, Santa arranged for two victims to come to her house to give statements to the police. However, when the witnesses presented themselves, the investigation officer had them charged for being involved with banned Islamic militant party, Jama'tul Mujadihin Bangladesh and for supplying bombs to its chief Sheikh Abdur Rahman. These fabricated charges have been laid and threats and intimidation have continued despite a prohibition having been ordered by the Bench of the High Court Division of the Supreme Court stating that no further harassment is to be directed at Santa or the witnesses in her case. Further, the order states that if the police do so, they will be charged accordingly.
On 7 April 2006, at around 10:00pm, the Emergency Medical Officer of the Dhaka Medical College Hospital, Dr. Belal Hossain, went to Santa's house. Dr. Belal requested that she return the medical certificate, which was submitted to the Court after its issuance by him, regarding the police brutality on Santa, due to the repeated threats made against him by the police.
The police have also continued to threaten the witnesses in Santa's case. As a result of this, the witnesses are unable to live in their own houses. In response the police have begun raiding the houses of the relatives of the witnesses, and have threatened to fabricate charges against them.
Following an order by the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's Court, which was made on April 14, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) initiated an investigation into the original incident of police brutality against Santa. The Additional Special Superintendent of Police of the Criminal Investigation Department, Mr. Kawsar Ahmed Haidari, sought the help of Santa in recording the statements of the witnesses, who were absconding to escape further police brutality and harassment. Santa then arranged to have the witnesses meet with Mr. Kawsar at her residence on April 10. On that day, however, instead of recording the statements of the two witnesses, Mr. Kawsar proceeded to charge them with involvement with banned Islamic militant political party, Jama'tul Mujahidin of Bangladesh. The policeman charged the witnesses for having met with Sheikh Abdur Rahman, who is the top leader of the banned militant group and who was arrested recently by the Rapid Action Battalion.
The witnesses, Santa and her family are living in fear due to the threat by the police. They believe that the polices actions to implicate them in false charges are another attempt to foil the process of justice. This is another instance of threat and intimidation against the victim and the witnesses despite the direction made by the High Court Division Bench of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh on 28 March 2006, not to harass the victim or the witnesses in Santa's case (please see our previous appeal: UP-062-2006). The Bench of the High Court Division also asked the Secretary of the Home Ministry, the IGP, two Deputy Commissioners of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police and 10 other officials of the government to show cause within two weeks as to why those officials should not be charged for violation of the constitution of Bangladesh, the Police Regulation of Bengal and other related laws. However, the officials, who were directed to respond to the ruling of the High Court Bench, have not yet submitted their reports despite the April 11 deadline having now passed.
Please write letters to the persons listed below urging them to intervene immediately so that the threats to and harassment of the victim, her husband and the witnesses in her case are stopped. The police must abide by the ruling of the High Court; this however, appears not to be happening and therefore the authorities must intervene. Please also urge the authorities to ensure appropriate security to the victim and her family and also to the witnesses in her case. Please ask that a speedy trial is ensured in this case so that justice can prevail and those responsible can be held to account for the heinous crimes they have committed. Please also ask that appropriate compensation be paid to the victim.
BANGLADESH: Police defy High Court order by continuing to make threats
Name of victim:
1. Mrs. Shahin Sultana Santa (34), resident of 7/A (3rd Floor), Road number 10, Mohammadia Housing Society under Mohammadpur police station in Dhaka
2. Mr. Atiur Rahman (Santas husband)
3. Witnesses in Santas cases
4. Dr. Belal Hossain (Santas doctor)
Name of alleged perpetrators:
1. Mr. Mazharul Haque, Deputy Commissioner of Police (South Zone), Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP)
2. Mr. Kohinur Mian, Deputy Commissioner of Police (West Zone), Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP)
3. Mr. Ruhul Amin, Police Constable of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP)
4. Mr. Kawsar Ahmed Haidari, Additional Special Superintendent of Police of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Dhaka.
5. Around 20 to 25 police personnel of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP)
Date of original incident: 12 March 2006
Place of original incident: Mirpur Road, in between Manik Mian Avenue and Road number 27 of Dhanmondi R/A in Dhaka
I am writing to express my deep concern at the ongoing and inexcusable treatment of a victim of torture, who continues to face threats and intimidation by her perpetrators and who has since lost her unborn child as a result of the injuries she incurred following her brutal beating. Mrs. Shahin Sultana Santa, a woman who was tortured by the police in Dhaka, despite being pregnant and who has since had three fabricated cases filed against her, is continuing to receive credible threats by her alleged perpetrators.
According to the information I have received, on April 7, the medical doctor of the Dhaka Medical
College, Dr. Belal Hossain, appealed to Santa to return a medial certificate, which was prepared by him and was submitted to the court for trial, as a result of threats made against him by the police. The police have also continued to threaten the witnesses in Santa's case, by forcing their way into their homes and intimidating the relatives living there. I have learned that the Additional Special Superintendent of Police of the Criminal Investigation Department, Mr. Kawsar Ahmed Haidari, who is the Investigating Officer in one of Santa's cases, charged two of the witnesses for involvement with banned Islamic militant party, the Jama'tul Mujahidin of Bangladesh. These fabricated charges, however, appear to be yet another attempt to foil the process of justice.
These further incidents of threats and intimidation come despite the ruling by the High Court, on March 28, not to harass Santa or her witnesses. I am aware that the Bench of the High Court Division directed 14 officials, including the Secretary of the Home Ministry and the Inspector General of Police to show cause as to why they should not be charged for violation of the constitution and relevant laws of the country. The respondents of the ruling were asked to submit their answers within two weeks from the date of issuance of the direction. Despite this deadline having now passed, no such answers have been forthcoming.
Owing to the seriousness of this case, and due to the grave danger the victim, her husband and her witnesses continue to face, I call on you now seeking your intervention. Measures must be taken to immediately stop and prevent the threats to and harassment of the victim, the witnesses in her case and the medical doctor. Appropriate security must also be provided to the victim and her family and also to the witnesses in her case. The police must abide by the ruling of the High Court and a speedy trial must also be ensured in this case so that justice can prevail and those responsible can be held to account for the heinous crimes they have committed. Appropriate compensation should also be afforded to the victim.
The action taken by the High Court regarding its ruling on the law enforcing agencies has not been enforced. As a result, its order has proven useless, as the victim is no safer despite this measure. Therefore, I trust that you will intervene in this case before any further threats or any other action of a more serious nature occurs and to take measures to ensure that the positive action taken by the High Court is upheld.
PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:
1. Mrs. Begum Khaleda Zia
Office of the Prime Minister
Old Parliament House,
Tel: +880 2 8828160-79, 9888677
Fax: +880 2 8113244 or 3243 or 1015 or 1490
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com (to the Secretary)
2. Mr. Sayed J. R. Mudassir Husain
The Chief Justice
The Supreme Court of Bangladesh
Supreme Court Building
3. Mr. A.J. Mohammad Ali
The Attorney General of Bangladesh
The Office of the Attorney General
Supreme Court Building
4. Mr. Md. Lutfozzaman Babor MP
The Ministry of Home Affairs
Government of the Peoples Republic of Bangladesh
Tel: +88-02-7169069 (O)/ +88-02-8359000 (R)
Fax: +88-02-7160405/ +88-02-7164788 (O)
5. Mr. Abdul Quayum
Inspector General of Police (IGP)
Tel: +88-02-9562054(O)/ +88-02-7176451/ +88-02-7176677
Fax: +88-02-9563362 (O)/ +88-02-9563363
6. Mr. SM Mizanur Rahman
Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP)
The DMP Headquarters
1, Shaheed Captain Monsur Ali Road
Tel: +88-02-8322746 (O)/ +88-02- 8316248
Fax: +88-02-8322746 (O)
7. Prof. Manfred Nowak
Special Rapporteur on the Question of Torture
Attn: Mr. Safir Syed
1211 Geneva 10
Tel: +41 22 917 9230
Fax: +41 22 9179016 (general)
8. Ms. Yakin Erturk
Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women
c/o Ms. Vernonica Birga
1211 Geneva 10
Tel: +41 22 917 9615
Fax: +41 22 917 9006 (Attn: Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women)
Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (firstname.lastname@example.org)