UPDATE (Bangladesh): Santa’s life is under extreme death threats now 


Urgent Appeal Case: UP-183-2006
ISSUES: Torture,

[RE: UP-181-2006: BANGLADESH: Santa’s family facing harassment by the Wazirpur police in Barisal; UP-114-2006: Safety measures must be taken to ensure the lives of Shahin Sultana Santa and her husband; UP-112-2006: Court dismisses charges against alleged perpetrators; UP-101-2006: Judicial Probe Commission ignores specific complaint against the Mohammadpur police; UP-096-2006: Court orders supplementary investigation following disputed Judicial Probe Commission report; UP-083-2006: Police defy High Court order by continuing to make threats; UP-062-2006: Harassment and threats continue towards victim despite a High Court ruling ordering the alleged perpetrators to stop; UP-058-2006: Police seriously intimidate and threaten victim, her husband and her witnesses; UA-105-2006: Pregnant woman tortured by police in Dhaka]

BANGLADESH: Torture; fabrication of charges; constant threats and intimidation; lack of witness protection; denial of trial; un-rule of law

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that a torture victim Mrs. Shahin Sultana Santa has received 19 death threatening phone calls from two separate mobile phones within the space of 2 hours today (21 September 2006). She and her husband have reportedly gone into hiding fearing for their lives. The AHRC is disturbed by the government’s long and deep silence on this matter despite the victim’s repeated complaints and our appeals concerning the constant and serious threats to this couple (See further: UP-058-2006UP-062-2006UP-083-2006UP-096-2006UP-101-2006UP-112-2006UP-114-2006 and UP-181-2006). Santa and her husband are struggling to get justice regarding her severe torture by the police in Dhaka on 12 March 2006. She was pregnant at the time of the incident and lost her unborn baby due to the incident (See further: UA-105-2006).

According to the latest information, Santa received 19 death threatening phone calls to her mobile phone within a very short time from around 12:10pm to 2:30 pm today, September 21. Twelve phone calls was made from a mobile phone number: 01714423658 and 7 phone calls from another mobile phone number: 01719201638. The callers verbally abused Santa and threatened her to kill whenever she appeared on the street.

Upon hearing of the incidents from Santa, one human rights defender called these two numbers to verify the truth. When he called to the number of 01714423658, a man answered the phone. He first denied that he made threatening calls to Santa but later said that his nephew, namely Mr. Momin, made the calls. He also apologised for the phone calls and assured that “It will never happen in future; I am sorry for that”. However, Santa and her husband have gone into hiding fearing for their lives.

The Bangladesh government has failed to provide any protection to Santa’s family despite the order of the High Court Bench on 28 March 2006 prohibiting any intimidation or harassment to the victim and her husband. The security situation of Santa and her husband has become critical and they fear for their lives.

Meanwhile, Santa’s cases have been dragged on for a long time due to the non-functioning corrupt judiciary in the country. To see the collapse of the justice system of in detail, please see the special report titled “Lawless law enforcement and the parody of judiciary in Bangladesh” published by the AHRC’s sister organization, the Asian Legal Recourse Centre (ALRC) in August 2006 (Article 2, Vol. 5, No. 4). Santa’s case has been also documented in this report in pages 63-67 (Case number: 17).

Please write letters to the authorities listed below urging them to intervene immediately into this case so that the harassment of Santa and her husband can be stopped and security is ensured.



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


Dear ____________,

BANGLADESH: Santa’s life under extreme death threats now

Name of the victims:
1. Mrs. Shahin Sultalna Santa, wife of Mr. Atiur Rahman, living in house no. 7/A, road no. 10, Mohammadia Housing Society under the Mohammadpur police station in Dhaka
2. Mr. Atiur Rahman, a lawyer by profession and husband of Mrs. Shahin Sultana Santa, who was brutally tortured by the police in Dhaka, living in house no. 7/A, road no. 10, Mohammadia Housing Society under the Mohammadpur police station in Dhaka
Name of the alleged perpetrators:
1. Alleged perpetrators belonging to the Dhaka Metropolitan Police, who are responsible for torturing Mrs. Santa on March 12, 2006, as well as their hired criminals.
Date of the recent incident: 21 September 2006
Place of the recent incident: The victim’s house in the city of Dhaka

I am extremely annoyed to receive reports of constant and serious death threats to the torture victim mentioned above, her husband and their employees by the alleged perpetrators, the police and unidentified men.

I have learned that today (21 September 2006) at around 12:10pm and 2:30 pm, Santa received a series of death threats over the telephone. The callers called from two mobile phones 12 and 7 times respectively. The numbers were recorded in Mrs. Shahin Sultana Santa’s mobile phone are 01714423658 and 01719201638. The callers threatened Santa to kill whenever she appeared on the street. They also verbally abused her.

Some human rights defenders have already verified the information calling on 01714423658. The person who answered the phone confessed that his nephew namely Mr. Momin made the phone calls. He also apologised for the phone calls assuring that “It will never happen in future; I am sorry for that”.

Mrs. Santa and her husband are forced to hide themselves due to the consecutive death threats over her mobile phone. The government has utterly failed to ensure protection to Mrs. Santa’s family despite the direction of the High Court Bench comprising Mr. Justice Awlad Ali and Ms. Justice Zinat Ara on March 28, 2006.

I therefore strongly urge you to immediately intervene in this matter and provide necessary protection to the victim and her family from further harm and harassment. I also urge you to inquire all the alleged threats and intimidations to the victim's couple and their employees without further delay and bring those responsible to justice as soon as possible. The cases against the alleged torture perpetrators should not be further delayed in order to provide justice to the victim. 

Yours sincerely,



1. Mrs. Begum Khaleda Zia
Prime Minister
Government of the People's Republic of 
Office of the Prime Minister
Old Parliament House, 
Tejgaon, Dhaka 
Tel: +880 2 8828160-79, 9888677
Fax: +880 2 8113244 or 3243 or 1015 or 1490

2. Mr. Sayed J. R. Mudassir Husain 
Chief Justice 
Supreme Court of Bangladesh 
Supreme Court Building 
Ramna, Dhaka-1000
Tel: +880 2 9562792
Fax: +880 2 9565058

3. Mr. A.J. Mohammad Ali
Attorney General  
Office of the Attorney General 
Supreme Court Building 
Ramna, Dhaka-1000
Tel: +880 2 9562868
Fax: +880 2 9561568

4. Mr. Md. Lutfozzaman Babor MP
State Minister 
Ministry of Home Affairs
Government of the Peoples’ Republic of Bangladesh 
Tel: +880 2 7169069 (O)/ +880 2 8359000 (R)
Fax: +880 2 7160405/ +880 2 7164788 (O)

5. Mr. Md. Anwarul Iqbal
Inspector General of Police (IGP)
Bangladesh Police
Police Headquarters’
Fulbaria, Dhaka-1000
Tel: +880 2 9562054(O)/ +880 2 7176451/ +880 2 7176677 
Fax: +880 2 9563362 (O)/ +880 2 9563363

6. Mr. SM Mizanur Rahman 
Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP)
The DMP Headquarters
1, Shaheed Captain Monsur Ali Road
Ramna, Dhaka-1000
Tel: +88-02-8322746 (O)/ +88-02- 8316248
Fax: +88-02-8322746 (O)
7. Prof. Manfred Nowak
UN 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
UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women
c/o Ms. Vernonica Birga 
Room 3-042
1211 Geneva 10
Tel: +41 22 917 9615
Fax: +41 22 917 9006 (Attn: Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women)

Thank you.

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

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Update
Document ID : UP-183-2006
Countries : Bangladesh,
Issues : Torture,