Bangladesh
05.06.02
Urgent Interventions

Bangladesh: establishment of an investigation committee into the circumstances of the death in detention of Mr. Uddin Fakir

Case BGD 060502.1
Follow-up to case 060502
Arbitrary detention/Torture/Death in detention

The International Secretariat of OMCT requests your URGENT intervention in the following situation in Bangladesh.

Geneva, June 5th, 2002

New Information

The International Secretariat of OMCT has been informed by A Coalition for Human Rights (ODHIKAR), a member of the OMCT network, that the Ministry of Home Affairs has formed an investigation committee to investigate the circumstances of the death of Mr. Jamal Uddin Fakir.

According to the information received, Mr. Uddin Fakir’s mother, Mrs. Ramiza Begum filed a report 13 days after her son’s death on May 13th, 2002, against the former Officer in Charge Gaza Moinuddin, the former Duty Officer A.B. Siddique and Constable Altaf at Kapashia police station in court 2 of the Gazipur First Class Magistrate Court. The Duty Officer and Constable were reportedly already suspended when the case was filed.

According to the report, the court has ordered a judicial inquiry into this case (case no. 94/2002, under section 302/201/118/119/120kha/34 of the Penal Code) and the First Class Magistrate, Ms. Rasheda Ferdous has been appointed to head this inquiry. The next hearing will take place on June 8th, 2002.

According to the report, Mr. Uddin was subjected to tortured while in detention at the Kapashia Police Station. He was reportedly handcuffed and tortured in a separate room at the station, and in the room of the Officer in Charge.

While the International Secretariat of OMCT welcomes the establishment of an investigation committee into the circumstances of Mr. Uddin Fakir’s death, it remains concerned of the outcome of the judicial inquiry.

Brief reminder of the situation

According to the information received, Mr. Jamal Uddin Fakir was arrested on April 17th, 2002 by Gazi Moinuddin, an officer at the Kapashia Police Station. Mr. Uddin Fakir was detained in connection to a case of Dacoity – gang theft - carried out on April 4th 2002. While in custody, he was severely tortured on the night of April 18th, 2002. On April 19th, 2002, Mr. Uddin Fakir allegedly escaped from the prison, and jumped into the river where his body was recovered on April 20th, 2002.

According to the information received, Mr. Uddin Fakir was a good swimmer and therefore there was little chance of him drowning under normal circumstances. The post-mortem report failed to mention the cause of his death, although the ‘dom’ (morgue attendant) who dissected the body stated that from his experience it did not seem like a case of drowning, and that the body bore at least 8 to 10 clear wounds. The police reportedly failed to show any record or evidence of Mr. Uddin Fakir’s involvement in theft or dacoity. It is thought that Mr. Uddin Fakir’s arrest was politically motivated - since he was a member of the Kapasia unit of the Bangladesh Chattra League (BCL), a student front belonging to the Awami League - and that after being tortured to death while in police custody, his body was thrown into the river during the night. The police however denied charges of torture under custody. Ms. Ramiza Begum, the mother of Mr. Uddin Fakir, reportedly tried filing several cases against the officers involved accusing them of murder, however they were repeatedly rejected.

Action requested

Please write to the authorities in Bangladesh urging them to:

i. ensure a thorough and impartial investigation into the reports of the alleged torture to which Mr. Uddin Fakir has been subjected and his subsequent death, in order to identify those responsible, bring them to trial and apply the penal, civil and/or administrative sanctions as provided by law;
ii. guarantee adequate reparation to the family of Mr. Uddin Fakir;
iii. guarantee the respect of human rights and the fundamental freedoms throughout the country in accordance with national laws and international human rights standards.

Addresses

· Prof. A.Q.M. Badruddoza Chowdhury, President of the Republic, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Bangabhaban, Dhaka, Fax : 00880-2-956-6242
· Mrs. Begum Khaleda Zia, Prime Minister, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Old Sangsad Bhaban, Dhaka, Fax :+880-2-811-3244
· Air Vice-Marshal (Retd.) Altaf Hossain Choudhury, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Bangladesh Secretariat, Dhaka, Fax : +880-2-955-2323
· Barrister Moudud Ahmed, Ministry of Law, Justice & Parliamentary Affairs, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Bangladesh Secretariat, Dhaka, Fax : +880-2-861-8557, E-Mail : minoflaw@bdonline.com

Please also write to the embassies of Bangladesh in your respective country.

Geneva, June 5th, 2002

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.
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