Torture survivors and relatives of custodial murders share their gruesome experiences in People's Tribunal

Bangladesh on 27 June 2013
Location : Bangladesh | Source : Asian Human Rights Commission. Image Source: Flickr User Satbir

A Joint Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission and Odhikar

A survivor of torture, relatives of a survivor and of two victims of death, who were tortured to death in police custody, have shared their gruesome experiences in a People's Tribunal today, June 26, 2013, in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Bangladeshi human rights groupOdhikar, in collaboration with the European Union, organised the People's Tribunal. A group of prominent jurists and scholars heard the statements of the victims and observed that torture should be immediately criminalised in Bangladeshi legislation for ensuring justice to the victims.

The Asian Human Rights Commission and Odhikar wish to share the translated version of the statements of the torture survivors and the relatives of the murdered victims, who lost their lives due to torture in police custody, in their own accounts.

Statement of Ms. Moni Begum: A survivor of torture by Sitakunda police in Chittagong

"On July 18, 2012 about 9:30 pm, some people knocked on my door. I went downstairs to the ground floor, where the police identified themselves and asked me to open the gate, which I did. They wanted to know who I was. After I identified myself, they asked for the mobile phone I was using and I complied. They asked me to accompany them to the police station. I asked for the reason. They said that a case was filed against me at the Sitakunda Police Station [Chittagong]. A policeman in plainclothes identified himself as Sub-Inspector (SI) Khaled Hossain. At the police station, I found out that Ibrahim Sumon, who was known to my late husband Shahid and I, had been murdered and was found in an area under the Sitakunda Police Station. Sumon's wife filed a case against me accusing me of murder. The police arrested me based on her complaint. Around 3:00 am, SI Khaled arrived at the police station and said that based on my name on the call list, the police had found information about my involvement in the murder. He asked me to confess everything. Khaled left after some time passed.

Two days later, on July 20, 2012 about12:00 noon SI Khaled came again, tied my hands and intimidated me to admit my involvement in the murder. At one stage Khaled slapped my face and threatened to beat me while I was in remand. At 1:00 pm, police sought a seven-day remand at the Court of Farida Yasmin, Senior Judicial Magistrate. The Court granted two days remand and issued orders to transfer me to the Chittagong Central Jail. On July 29, 2012 at 2:00 pm SI Khaled brought me to the Sitakunda Police Station. Somewhere around 11:30 pm I was moved to a different room in handcuffs where I was kept in custody. There, 8 to10 policemen, led by SI Khaled Hossain tortured me (Some of them were in police uniform and the rest were in plainclothes). A female police officer was also present at the time. They pressed me to confess my involvement in the murder of Ibrahim Sumon. When I said that I did not know anything about it, they assaulted me again. They then applied electric shocks to my elbow while I was seated on a chair. I fell on the floor and was beaten again by the entire staff. They kicked my chest, back and abdomen. They picked me up from the floor and applied electric shock to my thighs. My hand and back were burned with a cigarette. They continued torturing me for about an hour. At one stage I lost consciousness.

The next day on July 30, 2012 at 8:00 am, I found myself at Sitakunda Hospital. I was very weak and could not move because of the pain. I saw that the doctor did not want to admit me but the police were insisting. In the afternoon I was referred to the Chittagong Medical College Hospital where I was eventually admitted to the casualty department at 1:00 pm.

On March 14, 2013 I was released on bail after eight months of detention in the Chittagong Central Jail. I want justice for myself."

Statement of Mr. Nazim Uddin: Brother of Mr. Rizvi Hassan, a torture survivor detained in Chittagong Central Jail

"My name is Nazim Uddin. I have two siblings. Rizvi Hassan is the youngest. Upon discontinuing his studies, Rizvi started a business in 2009 with a shop in the Fatikchari Bazar [Chittagong]. In 2010 he married and started working for an insurance company, due to having incurred severe losses in his business. When I left the country, he began to look after the family property and resigned from his job. With a couple of friends he then became involved in a business called 'Moushumi Wood'. He now has two children. In late December or early January, he became a middleman and managed to sell a microbus that belonged to his friend Jahangir. For doing so, Jahangir said that he would pay Rizvi Taka 5000/-. However, he never made the payment. Thus the two had regular quarrels and fights over this. Then, on the 26th March 2013 at 2:30 in the afternoon, Jahangir called Rezvi and said "We have fought enough my friend, please come to the Bibirhat Bazar and collect your money". Later, at 4:00 pm Rizvi went to the Bibirhat Bazar and met his friend. Rezvi went with Jahangir to the second floor of the Bashundhara Hotel in the bazar to have a cup of tea. After tea, Rizvi wanted to leave but Jahangir tried his best to detain him bringing up random topics to chat about.  Now it was 5:00 pm and a group of policemen came up and surrounded Rizvi. They took Rizvi away forcefullly to the Hathajari Police Station where around 10:00 pm, many policemen including Sub-Inspector (SI) Sharif started hitting him with sticks. They wanted to know what Rizvi knew about Boli Monsur and many other local criminals. After Rizvi said that he knew no other criminals other than Boli Monsur, they started hitting him even harder. Somewhere around 12:00 midnight, they injected Rizvi with something after which he felt his head getting heavier, and became almost unconscious. They took him to Solailam's house which was on a small hill in the north of Bhola-Chala in Fatikchhari. There they arrested Boli Monsur. Then, in order to plant false evidence, the policemen ordered subordinates to provide them with weapons all the while beating him. It was during Fajr prayer at dawn that they brought Rizvi to the police station and injected him again. Later when he regained consciousness he found himself in custody. He saw an accused person also in custody, at one corner of the cell, quietly talking on his mobile phone. Rizvi gave him my sister's phone number to notify her where he was.

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