Police Brutality and Corruption on Steep Rise

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Security forces in Bangladesh have begun to set new precedents in brutality. Despite their continuous torture during the year, they are beyond accountability. Observers say that police have taken it for granted as corrupted government politics allows them to act freely. Many of the victims are political targets, although wider members of the public have also been victim.

Recently, a young named Shamim Reja was killed by police in Sonargaon police station. The victim’s father claimed that his son was brutally tortured in the police station as the police wanted 6 lakh taka (BDT 600,000). Police investigated this and found the officer in charge Arup Torofar and SI Paltu Ghush and ASP Uttam Prashad guilty as charged.

In recent days the brutality of police has leaked out. From members of the general public to editors of newspapers, politicians and members of civil society have become the victim of their shocking misconduct. Hefajot leader Babunogogori is fighting death in Intensive Care Unit on life support after court placed him on 31 days remand. It followed when the central president of Chatroshibir, an opposition youth political party, had been tortured and driven to the brink of death by police. Amardesh newspaper editor Mahmudur Rahman was tortured with visible proof of electric shock after 13 days detention by police.

Opposition BNP leaders have also fallen victim of police. The manner in which Chief Whip Joynul Abedin Faruq was beaten by police in front of media cameras was unprecedented in Bangladesh’s political history. Most of the senior leaders of BNP have been offended by police. Former deputy attorney general M U Ahmed’s murder by police has been brushed under the carpet and nobody has been brought to justice in the case yet.

Last April, the U.S. Department of State’s annual human rights report stated that two third of the people in Bangladesh’s jails were detained .in 2012; it was 56 thousand.

Few days ago, a court ordered eight days remand to 151 opposition leaders. Arresting and remand are consistently being misused by the state on an everyday basis. Twenty young women were given remand even without any apparent accusation. They were arrested under section 54, imprisoned for weeks and remanded, only to be later be given bail without charge. The situation has reached a level where police can arrest anybody without any reason at any time. As such the human rights situation in Bangladesh is looking dire.

A recent CCTV video footage suggests that Deputy Commissioner of Dhaka city detective branch police has been involved in extortion from a businessman, Sayed Abidul Islam. He said the Deputy Commissioner tortured him in a torture cell and demanded money. Islam lives in Gulshan-1. On 7th April in the morning a group of plainclothes policemen led by inspector Azharuddin and superintendent Hasnat went to his house. They claimed that they had an information about a bag containing 1 crore taka (BDT 10million) in a black bag. They searched the whole flat and couldn’t find anything. Returning back, they wanted to take a box of gold jewelry but Islam’s wife protested.

At 6am Islam found himself in a room of Deputy Commissioner (Detective Branch). He was brutally tortured by both the Inspector and Superintendent. He was told to give 10 crore otherwise he would be presented to court as Jamaat or Hizbutahrir activist and will have to spend the rest of his life in jail. Following torture, He was given 1 hour to make his decision. Islam agreed to give 1 crore taka to save his life. ”Sir doesn’t understand anything other than money, I had to give money, otherwise I would not be a free man” says Abdul indicating Deputy Commissioner of Detective Branch.

Translated from: Amar Desh