UPDATE (Bangladesh): Human rights activist likely to be shot dead by the Rapid Action Battalion


Urgent Appeal Case: UP-155-2007
ISSUES: Freedom of expression, Human rights defenders, Impunity,

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has been informed that Mr. Jahangir Alam Akash, a journalist and human rights defender based in Rajshahi city is once again threatened by the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) for exposing the atrocities committed by the RAB in Bangladesh. Mr. Akash is the coordinator of the Task Force against Torture (TFT)-Rajshahi city as well as the regional coordinator of the Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) in the Rajshahi region. He is also a journalist by profession working as the bureau chief of a private news television channel CSB News and the Daily Sangbad, a Dhaka based national newspaper.


Mr. Akash, [picture 1] was threatened, intimidated and also arrested on fabricated charges by the RAB several times in the recent past. While in detention he was tortured severely. Due to the injuries Akash suffered from torture he finds it difficult to walk now. On previous occasions when Akash was arrested he was released on bail. Now, the AHRC has learned through credible sources in Bangladesh that Akash has been once again threatened by the RAB that he will be booked with yet another fabricated charge and would be shot dead as if he was killed in an encounter. Akash is now in hiding being afraid that he would be killed by the RAB any day. His family is also afraid that they would be targeted by the RAB to make Akash surrender before the RAB.

The AHRC in the past has issued several updates regarding Akash’s case. For further information please see: UA-149-2007, UP-101-2007 and UP-142-2007. Major Mr. Rashid of the RAB is believed to be behind these incidents. For further details, please see UP-122-2007.

Please write a letter to the authorities below and urge them to provide immediate protection to Mr. Akash.  Please also demand the authorities to conduct an impartial inquiry about the activities of the RAB stationed in Rajshahi city.

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


Dear ___________,

BANGLADESH: Human rights activist threatened by the Rapid Action Battalion that he will be shot dead

Name of victim: Mr. Jahangir Alam Akash, the coordinator of the Task Force against Torture (TFT)-Rajshahi city; the regional coordinator of the Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) in the Rajshahi region; the bureau chief of TV news channel CSB News and the daily newspaper Sangbad.
Name of alleged perpetrators: 
1. Major Mr. Rashidul Hassan Rashid, attached to the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB)-5 deployed for the Rajshahi region
2. Other personnel of the RAB-5 
Date of incident: Continuously – since 2 May 2007
Place of incident: Rajshahi city

I am deeply concerned to know about the continuing threats and intimidation by the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) against Mr. Jahangir Alam Akash. I am informed that Akash is now facing death threats from the RAB and that Akash is worried whether he would be shot dead in a fake encounter.

I am aware that in the past several months a series of calls were made to the authorities in Bangladesh inviting attention to Akash’s case, upon which the authorities in Bangladesh has so far done nothing. I am informed that Akash is a human rights activist and also a journalist who had published and reported cases of torture and corruption against the RAB officials. I am also informed that in the past several occasions the RAB had framed Akash with false cases against which the courts in Bangladesh have released Akash on bail. On one particular incident Akash was arrested and detained for 28 days and during these days he was tortured. Upon release from custody on bail, Akash had to be admitted in the hospital for treating the injuries that he suffered from the torture. Even today Akash finds it difficult to walk.

I am also informed that not only Akash, but his family also is under threat from the RAB. As of now Akash is keeping himself away from his home in order to be safe.

This is not any isolated instance of such threats on journalists or human rights defenders in Bangladesh. I have learned that it is a very common phenomenon for the professionals like journalists and human rights defenders of Bangladesh facing death threats from the law-enforcing agencies and security forces. I am also very much concerned that since the state of emergency was imposed in the country such threats and intimidations by state’s security forces have alarmingly increased there. Yet none of the alleged perpetrators have yet been prosecuted for their alleged crimes. As a result, the worst type of culture of impunity is cultivated in Bangladesh, despite the nation’s presence in the UN Human Rights Council since May 2006. I am also concerned about the reports of torture, ill-treatment, extra-judicial killings by the armed security forces for last four months under a state of emergency.

I therefore request you to ensure that the RAB officers involved in this case are investigated and appropriate action is taken against them if the allegation is proven. Should the investigation commences, I likewise request your office to impose immediate sanctions upon these officers to ensure a credible and independent investigation, and to refrain them from using their authority to possibly further harass the victim further. The victim and his colleagues must likewise be afforded with appropriate protection and security to avert any possible violent actions that could be taken against them.

I also urge the UN human rights bodies, including the Office of the High Commissioner, Human Rights Council and the independent experts, to take more active role to improve the deteriorated human rights situation in Bangladesh under a state of emergency since January 2007.

I trust that you immediate take action on this serious matter.

Yours sincerely,



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

2. Mr. Mohammad Ruhul Amin
Chief Justice
Supreme Court of Bangladesh
Supreme Court Building
Ramna, Dhaka-1000
Tel: +880 2 9562792
Fax: +880 2 9565058

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

5. Mr. Hassan Mahmud Khandokar
Director General (DG)
Rapid Action Battalion (RAB)
RAB Headquarter
Uttara, Dhaka
Tel: +88-02- 8961105 (O)
Fax: +880 2 8962884 (O)

6. Ms. Hina Jilani
Special Representative of the Secretary General for human rights defenders
Att: Melinda Ching Simon 
Room 1-040, c/o OHCHR-UNOG
1211 Geneva 10
Tel: +41 22 917 93 88

Thank you.

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

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID : UP-155-2007
Countries : Bangladesh,
Issues : Freedom of expression, Human rights defenders, Impunity,