The World Organisation Against Torture has issued an urgent appeal over the ongoing detention of human rights defender Adilur Rahman Khan of Bangladesh.
Dear members of OMCT SOS-Torture Network, Dear colleagues and friends,
As you all know, our colleague and friend Adilur Rahman Khan, Secretary of the human rights non-governmental organisation Odhikar, OMCT network member in Bangladesh, and a member of the OMCT General Assembly, has been detained since 10 August 2013. On 9 September 2013, the Metropolitan Session Court in Dhaka rejected the bail petition his lawyers had filed.
On 4 September 2013, the police announced they had filed a charge sheet against Adil as well as against Odhikar director Nasiruddin Elan for “distorting images by using photo shop and publishing a fabricated report, which enraged public sentiment”, under Section 57 of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Act, in relation to a fact-finding report issued by Odhikar about the killing of 61 people during an operation carried out on 5-6 May 2013 by law enforcement agencies against Hefazat-e Islam activists at Dhaka’s downtown Motijheel area. Reportedly, the police submitted an application for issuing a warrant of arrest against Nasiruddin Elan.
On 5 September 2013, the case was referred to the Cyber Crimes Tribunal, and on 12 September 2013, Adilur will be formally charged in court, when the date for a trial will be given.
We at the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) are extremely concerned by the ongoing detention of Adil and further harassment against Odhikar in general. We consider the detention of Adilur Rahman Khan as arbitrary since it only aims at sanctioning and preventing his activities as a human rights defender, therefore contradicting international human rights standards and Bangladesh’s obligations. We further fear that Adil might be subjected to torture and ill treatment while in detention.
Accordingly, we call upon your solidarity with Adilur Rahman Khan, an outstanding human rights defender who has been at the forefront of fighting torture, extra-judicial killings and human rights abuses by security forces in Bangladesh, and whose organisation, like yours, is a member of OMCT SOS-Torture Network.
Please help us release Adil and end the harassment against Odhikar!
To do so, here are different actions we encourage you to undertake:
1. To sign the on-line petition at this link.
2. To send a letter to the authorities of Bangladesh calling upon them to release Adil immediately and unconditionally and to fully ensure safeguards against torture and ill-treatment during his detention. You just need to go to OMCT dedicated webpage and there to click on the “Take action” button, copy the enclosed letter and send it to the addresses provided. You will also find the model letter below.
3. You can also copy the banner above to post on your websites.
Please keep us updated about any action you would undertake.
World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)
Please take action to call for the release of human rights defender ADILUR RAHMAN KHAN! To do so, kindly copy the enclosed letter and send it to the addresses provided. Kindly inform us of any action undertaken at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for taking action!
· Ms. Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister, Office of the Prime Minister, Gona Bhaban, Old Sangsad Bhaban, Tejgaon, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Fax: +880 2 8113243, Email: email@example.com
· Mr. Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir, Minister for Home Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs, Bangladesh Secretariat Building 4, Dhaka, Bangladesh, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com;
· Barrister Shafique Ahmed, Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Bangladesh Secretariat, Dhaka, Bangladesh, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
· Mr. Hasanul Haq Inu, Honourable Minister, Ministry of Information, Building # 4 (8th floor), Bangladesh Secretariat, Dhaka-1000, Bangladesh. E-mail: email@example.com
· Mr. Hasan Mahmud Khandaker, Inspector General of Police, Police Headquarters, Phoenix Road, Dhaka-1000, Bangladesh, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
· H.E. Mr. Abdul Hannan, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh to the United Nations in Geneva, 65 rue de Lausanne, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 738 46 16, E-mail: email@example.com
· Embassy of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh in Brussels, 29-31 rue J. Jordaens, 1000 Brussels, Belgium, Fax: +32 2 646 59 98; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
I have been informed by the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) about the ongoing arbitrary detention of Mr Adilur Rahman Khan, Secretary of the human rights non-governmental organisation Odhikar, OMCT network member in Bangladesh, and a member of OMCT General Assembly.
On 9 September 2013, the Metropolitan Session Court in Dhaka rejected the bail petition filed by Mr Adilur Rahman Khan. This was the second time Mr Khan’s lawyer was submitting a petition seeking bail for his client.
On 4 September 2013, the Detective Branch of Police announced they had filed a charge sheet against Mr. Adilur Rahman KHAN as well as against Odhikar’s Director ASM Nasiruddin Elan for “distorting images by using photo shop and publishing a fabricated report, which enraged public sentiment”, under Section 57 of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Act, in relation to a fact-finding report issued by Odhikar about the killing of 61 people during an operation carried out on 5-6 May 2013 by law enforcement agencies against Hefazat-e Islam activists at the Dhaka’s downtown Motijheel area. Reportedly, the police submitted an application for issuing a warrant of arrest against Mr. Nasiruddin Elan.
On 5 September 2013, the case was referred to the Cyber Crimes Tribunal.
Mr Adilur Rahman Khan was arrested by the Detective Branch of Police in Dhaka on 10 August 2013, at 10.20pm, as he was returning at his Gulshan residence in Dhaka with his family. The police did not present any warrant of arrest and did not inform neither his family nor Mr Khan why they were arresting him and where they were taking him. The Dhaka Metropolitan Police subsequently confirmed the arrest to the media.
On 11 August 2013, Mr Khan was brought before the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Court (CMM), where the complaint against him was read by the Public Prosecutor. The police lodged two General Diaries against him on August 10, 2013, one under Section 54 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and the other by the Gulshan police station. Mr. Adilur Rahman Khan was also charged under clauses 1 and 2 of Section 57 of the ICT 2006 for publishing false images and information and disrupting the law and order situation of the country. The Court then placed Mr Khan on a five-day remand for interrogation.
Furthermore, on 11 August 2013, the Odhikar office was searched by DB police between 8.20pm and 9.00pm. They inspected the files and documents and then seized three laptops and two CPUs from Odhikar’s office.
On 12 August 2013, the High Court of Bangladesh stayed the five-day remand order to interrogate Mr. Adilur Rahman Khan and asked police to send him to jail.
On 13 August 2013, Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate Mostafa Shahriar Khan, in accordance with the High Court order, issued the order to send Mr Adilur Rahman Khan to Dhaka Central Jail. He was later transferred to Kashimpur Jail number 1, on the outskirts of Dhaka city.
On 12 September 2013, Mr Adilur Rahman Khan will be formally charged in court, when the date for a trial is going to be given.
I express my deepest concern about Mr Adilur Rahman Khan’s arbitrary detention, which seems to merely aim at sanctioning his peaceful human rights activities. Accordingly, I call upon the authorities in Bangladesh to guarantee in all circumstances his physical and psychological integrity as well as to release him immediately and unconditionally.
More generally, I call upon the authorities in Bangladesh to put an end to any kind of harassment – including at the judicial level – against Mr Adilur Rahman Khan, all Odhikar members and all human rights defenders in Bangladesh; as well as to conform with the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 9 December 1998.
I thank you for your attention to this urgent matter.