SSC examinee Rifat arrested by Bangladesh security forces from examination premises; allegations of severe torture in custody


Bangladesh security forces are being accused of arbitrary arrest of an SSC examinee, followed by subjecting him to custodial torture at RAB headquarters. Family sources informed that Rifat Abdullah Khan, son of Rafiqul Islam Khan, ameer of Dhaka City Jamaat-e-Islami, was arrested by RAB while he was giving his SSC exams at Uttara High School centre. His family also alleged that Rifat was presently being held at RAB headquarters and was being subject to torture in connection with his father being an important member of the political opposition.

The incident happened on Friday, when Rifat, a science student of Uttara Holy Child School, was picked up by security forces from his exam hall and taken away to RAB headquarters, according to family sources. However, his arrest has been denied by different wings of the security forces who claimed to have no knowledge of his whereabouts. Mahfuzul Islam, additional sub-commissioner of Detective Branch of police, said that detective police had not arrested Rifat. Moreover, arresting an SSC examinee was out of question, he said. Similar statements were given by RAB Law and Media wing Director Mufti Mahmud Khan and Uttara Police station official Rafiqul Islam, both of whom said that Rifat had not being arrested by the RAB or by the police either.

However, a source preferring to remain anonymous stated that Rifat had been subject to custodial torture in order to divulge information on whereabouts of the Jamaat leadership, including his father Rafiqul Islam Khan, who is an important central leader along with being the ameer of Dhaka city Jamaat. The categorical denial by security forces has raised fears that the SSC examinee may be subject to illegal torture in the name of interrogation or become a victim of extrajudicial execution. Opposition activist arrests turning into extrajudicial killings by law enforcers has seen a sharp rise in Bangladesh since early January of this year, following an opposition blockade program calling for fresh elections. Previous similar cases of arrests that took place amid police denial have resulted in torture and extrajudicial execution with bodies appearing at morgues later.