Bangladesh: Guarantee personal integrity and release Acting Editor of Amar Desh, Mr. Mahmudur Rahman
BANGLADESH: Guarantee personal integrity and release Acting Editor of Amar
Desh, Mr. Mahmudur Rahman
Geneva-Paris, December 5,
2013 - The World Organisation
Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
express their concern following the remand of Mr. Mahmudur Rahman, Acting Editor of the
Bangladeshi daily newspaper Amar Desh.
December 4, 2013, at around 11am, Mr. Mahmudur
Rahman was taken to remand by the Detective Branch Police from Kashimpur
Jail-2. His wife was only informed that Mr. Rahman would be taken to the
Cantonment Police Station, the Tejgaon Police Station or the Detective Branch
headquarters in Mintoo Road, although the police officers did not indicate the
concrete location. Mr. Rahman was taken out of the centre where he was being
held in a microbus with no number plates.
the fact that the wife and other people close to the editor contacted the three
facilities mentioned above to find Mr. Rahman’s whereabouts, they were told at
the police stations that they had not received any information regarding this
case. At around 7pm on December 4, it was confirmed that Mr. Rahman had been
taken to Tejgaon Police Station from Kashimpur Jail-2.
Mahmudur Rahman was arrested on
April 11, 2013 without being informed of the charges under which he was being
detained and further remanded into police custody for 13 days, when he was
subjected to torture.
Rahman was eventually charged under provisions of the Cyber Crime and ICT
Act-2006 and of the Penal Code with the offences of sedition and unlawful
publication of a Skype conversation between Md Nizamul Huq, an International
Crimes Tribunal (ICT) judge, and an external consultant, which raised doubts on
the impartiality of the tribunal. Following the eruption of the “Skype scandal”
on December 9, 2012,
Judge Huq had to resign on December 11, 2012.
is not the first time Mr. Rahman has been intimidated for peacefully exercising
his right to free speech as well as his professional freedom as a journalist in
Bangladesh. The latter had previously been arrested, ill-treated and unjustly
convicted in relation to his human rights activities.
and FIDH fear that Mr. Rahman is currently at risk of torture and recall
that authorities have to fulfill their obligations under international human
rights instruments ratified by Bangladesh to protect the right not to be
subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or
and OMCT strongly condemn the harassment against Mr. Rahman, which seems
representative of the increasing repression of dissenting voices in the
country, and call on the Bangladeshi authorities to release him as well as all
journalists and activists arbitrarily detained.
the meantime, OMCT and FIDH urge the relevant authorities to guarantee the
physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Rahman at all times.
and OMCT have recently released a fact-finding mission report on the situation
of human rights defenders in Bangladesh, which outlines the various hindrances
faced by civil society in terms of freedom of expression and association. The
report is available here:
Arthur Manet/Audrey Couprie: +33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18
Alexandra Kossin: + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39
OMCT Urgent Appeal BGD 220413.
conversation was first published by The Economist and later republished
in Bangladesh by Amar Desh and other news agencies and websites.
Annual Report 2011 of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights
Defenders (a joint FIDH-OMCT programme).