August 11, 2013
By Saad Hammadi
Charges pressed against him for fabricating information
Secretary of human rights organisation Odhikar, Adilur Rahman Khan, was arrested last night at 10.30pm from his residence by the Detective Branch (DB) of Police for ‘for fabricating facts about atrocities committed by state forces’, confirmed DB police.
He was arrested under section 57 of the Information and Communication Technology Act – 2006 for fabricating facts about atrocities committed by state forces during a siege by Islamist organisation Hefazat-e-Islam on May 5.
‘He has distorted facts about Hefazat-e-Islam and distorted photographs using Photoshop,’ said Masudur Rahman, deputy commissioner of the Detective Branch of Police.
The DB arrested the human rights defender at 10:30pm from his residence at Gulshan. ‘He is being kept at the Detective Branch headquarters at Mintu Road,’ said Rahman.
Khan’s organisation Odhikar has been critical about human rights abuses by law enforcement agencies in Bangladesh that include extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and torture.
Between January and June 2013, according to information gathered by Odhikar, 184 persons were killed by Bangladeshi security forces overriding the judicial procedure. This means that an average of 30 people died in extrajudicial killings every month.
Senior leaders of Bangladesh Nationalist Party have condemned Khan’s arrest by the police.
‘We find this whole act extremely deplorable,’ said Shamsher M Chowdhury, vice chairman of BNP. “This is yet another act on the part of the government which demonstrates its fascistic and intolerant attitude, which has been on display over the last four and half years.”
About reports stating Khan’s arrest on charges of fabricating news about Hefazat’s Dhaka siege and human rights violation, Chowdhury said, ‘Some pro-government media channels are saying this. If somebody has given false information, I don’t think one can be arrested for false information; he can be corrected or proven wrong.’
Chowdhury claimed some western governments have already expressed serious concerns. ‘I understand the United States has formally approached the government expressing concern, and that he should be released immediately,’ claimed Chowdhury, also former Bangladeshi ambassador to the US. Odhikar confirmed that the US embassy is trying to get in touch with the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to ask for his immediate release.
‘The government has still officially not stated why he has been arrested. It is a grave violation of fundamental human right. If I have said something wrong publicly, the government’s job is to correct me by putting counter-facts, but not by arresting me,’ Chowdhury said.
Earlier, DB spokesperson Mohammad Abu Yusuf confirmed to New Age about Khan’s arrest from his residence at 10:30pm under the ICT (Information and Communication Technology) Act-2006.
A team of eight or nine members of the detective branch of police picked him up when he was returning home with his family, said Odhikar in a statement. As his car entered his home and he got out, ‘eight or nine men claiming to be from the DB surrounded him and requested him to come with them.’
‘They brought a white microbus apparently belonging to United Commercial Bank and a blue and silver coloured Mitsubishi Pajero,’ said the statement.
‘We have no idea why he was arrested,’ Nasiruddin Elan, director of Odhikar told New Age.
Odhikar has been critical about human rights abuses by state law enforcement agencies including the Detective Branch.
Source: New Age BD