Bangladesh: Attack against Mr. Mahmudur Rahman

24/07/2018
Urgent Appeal

BGD 001 / 0718 / OBS 097
Attack / Judicial harassment
Bangladesh
July 24, 2018

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH, requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Bangladesh.

New information

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the attack against Mr. Mahmudur Rahman, Acting editor of the Daily Amar Desh, a national daily newspaper in Bangladesh, which has been shut down by the government, on the premises of the Kushtia court, in west Bangladesh.

According to the information received, on July 22, 2018, Mr. Mahmudur Rahman was attacked in Kushtia by around 100 men of the Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL), the student wing of the ruling Bangladesh Awami League,right after being granted bail in a case of alleged demeaning Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the first President of Bangladesh, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her niece, British Member of Parliament Tulip Siddiq.

The men, led by Chhatra League District President Tushar Ahmed, were waiting for Mr. Rahman outside the courtroom. When Mr. Rahman tried to get into his car, the men hurled broken pieces of bricks,targeting his car and breaking its windows, which forced him to take shelter inthe offices of an advocate. The BCL men then entered the room and beat Mr. Rahman, leaving him with injuries to the head and face.

The police arrived only after most of the attackers left and Mr. Rahman was subsequently taken on a flight out of Kushtia and then brought by ambulance to a hospital in Dhaka, where doctors reported injuries to his face, back of the head and right shoulder, including a laceration on the right lower eyelid and a 2-3 cm long deep laceration behind the right ear. He remains in hospital at the time of publication of this Urgent Appeal.

The Observatory strongly condemns the attack against Mr. Mahmudur Rahman and urges the Government of Bangladesh to guarantee, in all circumstances, his physical and psychological integrity as well as to carry out an immediate, thorough, impartial, and transparent investigation into the events described above, in order to identify all those responsible and hold them accountable.

Background information

The Observatory recalls that Mr. Mahmudur Rahman was previously arbitrary detained for 1,322 days, before being released on bail on November 24, 2016. Upon his release, he was directly transferred to United Hospital in Dhaka for medical assessment and treatment, as his health had severely deteriorated during his prolonged arbitrary detention due to ill treatment and lack of access to proper medical care.

Despite his release on bail, Mr. Rahman is still facing prosecution under at least 80 different criminal cases. These cases are widely regarded to be fabricated and politically motivated, in several instances accusing Mr. Rahman of involvement in crimes that took place while he was already under police custody.

Actions requested

Please write to the authorities in Bangladesh, urging them to:

i. Guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Mahmudur Rahman as well as of all human rights defenders in Bangladesh;

ii. Carry out an immediate, thorough, impartial, and transparent investigation into the attack against Mr. Mahmudur Rahmanin order to identify all those responsible and hold them accountable;

iii. Put an end to all forms of harassment - including at the judicial level - against Mr. Mahmudur Rahman, as well as all human rights defenders in Bangladesh, and ensure in all circumstances that they are able to carry out their legitimate activities without any hindrance and fear of reprisals;

iv. Conform to the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially its Articles 1 and 12.2;

v. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Bangladesh.

Addresses

· Ms. Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh. Fax: +880 2 8113243, Email: pm@pmo.gov.bd
· Professor Dr. Gowher Rizvi, Adviser to the Prime Minister (International Affairs), Bangladesh. Fax: +880 2 9111312 Email: advinternational@pmo.gov.bd
· Mr. Asaduzzaman Khan, State Minister for Home Affairs of Bangladesh. Fax: +880 2 9515541. Email: stateminister@mha.gov.bd
· Mr. Anisul Huq, Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs of Bangladesh. Fax: +880 2 7168557. Email: minoflaw@law.com
· Md. Shahriar Alam, State Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh. Fax: +880 2 9562188. Email: fm@mofa.gov.bd
· Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Bangladesh, Fax: +880 2 956 5058 /+880 2 7161344, E-mail: chief@bdcom.com or supremec@bdcom.com
· Mr. Mahbubey Alam, Attorney General for Bangladesh, Email: adv_mahbubey@yahoo.com
· H.E. Mr. Abdul Hannan, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the People’sRepublic of Bangladesh to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 738 46 16, E-mail: mission.bangladesh@ties.itu.int
· Embassy of the People’sRepublic of Bangladesh in Brussels, Belgium, Fax: +32 2 646 59 98; Email: bdootbrussels@skynet.be

Please also write to the diplomatic missions or embassies of Bangladesh in your respective country as well as to the EU diplomatic missions or embassies in Bangladesh.

***
Geneva-Paris, July 24, 2018

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

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH. The objective of this programme is to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. OMCT and FIDH are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
· E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
· Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29
· Tel and fax FIDH: + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80

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