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Bangladesh

    May 12, 2016

    The Bangladeshi authorities must intensify efforts to hold to account the killers of secular blogger Ananta Bijoy Das and to end the impunity that exists for a wave of killings of human rights defenders and others, Amnesty International said on the anniversary of Ananata Bijoy Das’ death.

    On 12 May 2015, while on his way to work Bijoy Das was approached by masked men carrying machetes in Sylhet, Bangladesh. They struck him on the head and body and then reportedly fled into the crowds. Bijoy Das was taken to hospital where he was declared dead. The attack was claimed by a violent group purporting to act in the name of Islam, Ansar al-Islam (also known as Ansarullah Bangla Team), which claims to have links to al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent.

    May 10, 2016

    The execution of Motiur Rahman Nizami today is a deplorable move by the Bangladeshi authorities which will not deliver justice to the victims of war crimes, Amnesty International said today.

    Motiur Rahman Nizami, the current chief of Bangladeshi political party Jamaat-e-Islami, was hanged at Dhaka Central Jail today. He was sentenced to death by the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) in Bangladesh in October 2014 after he was convicted of charges relating murder, torture, rape and the mass killing of intellectuals during Bangladesh’s War of Independence in 1971.

    “We are dismayed that Bangladeshi authorities have executed Motiur Rahman Nizami. The victims of the horrific events of the 1971 Liberation War are entitled to justice, but taking another life is not the answer,” said Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s Director of the South Asia Regional Office

    May 05, 2016

    The Bangladeshi authorities should halt the imminent execution of Motiur Rahman Nizami and impose a moratorium on the death penalty, Amnesty International said after the country’s Supreme Court rejected his final appeal today.

    Motiur Rahman Nizami, the current chief of Bangladeshi political party Jamaat-e-Islami, was sentenced to death by the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) in Bangladesh in October 2014. He was convicted of murder, rape and the mass killing of intellectuals during Bangladesh’s War of Independence in 1971.

    “We are dismayed that the Supreme Court has upheld the conviction and death sentence against Motiur Rahman Nizami. The victims of the horrific events of the 1971 Liberation War deserve justice, but the death penalty is not the answer,” said Jameen Kaur, Amnesty International’s Campaigns Director for South Asia.

    “Taking another life will just perpetuate the cycle of violence. We urge the Bangladeshi authorities to halt this execution immediately, and impose a moratorium on the implementation of the death penalty with a view to its eventual repeal.”

     

    April 25, 2016

    "The brutal killing today of an editor of an LGBTI publication and his friend, days after a university professor was hacked to death, underscores the appalling lack of protection being afforded to a range of peaceful activists in the country,” said Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director.

    “There have been four deplorable killings so far this month alone. It is shocking that no one has been held to account for these horrific attacks and that almost no protection has been given to threatened members of civil society. Bangladeshi authorities have a legal responsibility to protect and respect the right to life. They must urgently focus their energies on protecting those who express their opinions bravely and without violence, and bringing the killers to justice. The authorities must strongly condemn these horrific attacks, something they have failed to do so far.”                                      

    April 07, 2016

    The vicious killing of another secular activist in Bangladesh is a grave reminder that the authorities are failing to protect people exercising their right to freedom of expression, Amnesty International said.

    Four masked men attacked Nazimuddin Samad, 28, with a machete in Dhaka late last night before shooting him dead. No one has claimed responsibility, but the killing fits the pattern of other similar attacks on secular activists by radical Islamist groups over the past year.

    “There can be no justification for the brutal killing of Nazimuddin Samad, who has apparently paid with his life for nothing but being brave enough to speak his mind. This is not just a senseless murder, it is a blatant attack on the right to freedom of expression,” said Champa Patel, South Asia Director from Amnesty International.

    Nazimuddin Samad was a student activist who had organised campaigns for secularism on social media. He was named on a “hit list” of 84 bloggers published by a group of radical Islamists in 2013.

    November 09, 2015

    Charbak* who recently escaped Bangladesh after his name appeared on several kill lists, reflects on what the recent murder of Faisal Arefin Dipon and others means for the future of free thought in Bangladesh.

    I have come to tell you this with so much helplessness, suffering and agony in my heart. The post-independence young generation of Bangladesh – my generation – who collectively dreamt of a secular homeland, has lost another one of our own. Just over a week ago, machete-wielding extremists tore Faisal Arefin Dipon’s body to pieces, tearing our dream as well.

    This time it wasn’t a blogger who was hacked down, but a publisher of secular books. So it seems that any kind of activity that facilitates free expression (not just blogging) will not be tolerated by thesegroups.

    October 31, 2015

    The brutal attacks against two publishers of the slain blogger Avijit Joy and their colleagues in Bangladesh today is further chilling evidence of the horrific pattern of violence against people exercising their freedom of expression in the country.

    “We are deeply shocked by today’s news of yet more attacks against independent voices in Bangladesh,” said Abbas Faiz, Bangladesh Researcher at Amnesty International.

    “The situation in Bangladesh is becoming increasingly dangerous for those brave enough to speak their own minds. The latest heinous criminal attacks are a deliberate assault against freedom of expression in the country.

    “Given the horrific pattern of violence, we have reason to believe many other lives are now at risk.  

    “We are calling on the Bangladesh authorities to urgently act to ensure the protection of others in the country against such horrific and targeted violence.

    October 27, 2015

    Two opposition politicians face imminent hanging for crimes committed during the 1971 Independence War after serious flaws occurred in their trial and appeal processes, Amnesty International said today.

    In 2013 Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed and Salauddin Quader Chowdhury were sentenced to death by the country’s International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) on charges of war crimes and genocide at trials that failed to meet international standards for fair trial.

    Both men had their convictions and sentences upheld on appeal in June and July this year respectively, and in the government’s haste to see more war crimes convicts executed, both have now had their appeals process sped up. The UN has stated the ICT fails to meet international fair trial standards.

    The two men will have their review petitions, which are effectively their last appeals, heard on 2 November. If their convictions are upheld there is no legal way to overturn their death sentences.

    August 07, 2015

    The Bangladeshi authorities must send a strong message that killings aimed at silencing dissenting voices are despicable and will not be tolerated, Amnesty International said in reaction to the news that blogger Niloy Neel was hacked to death at his home in the capital Dhaka today.

    Known for his secularist views, he is the fourth blogger to meet such a brutal fate at the hands of machete-wielding groups this year.

    “This spate of savage killings must end here. There is little doubt that these especially brutal killings are designed to sow fear and to have a chilling effect on free speech. This is unacceptable,” said David Griffiths, South Asia Research Director at Amnesty International.

    “The price for holding opinions and expressing them freely must not be death. The Bangladeshi authorities now have an urgent duty to make clear that no more attacks like this will be tolerated.

    “Thorough, effective, independent and impartial investigations must be carried out promptly to ensure that all those responsible are brought to justice in fair trials without recourse to the death penalty.”

    May 12, 2015

    The Bangladeshi authorities must deliver justice over the shocking murder of the secularist Bangladeshi blogger Bijoy Das – the third such killing this year – if they wish to avert a looming crisis for freedom of expression in the country, said Amnesty International.

    This latest attack again demonstrates Bangladesh’s secular bloggers are being targeted in a vicious campaign which the authorities are unable or unwilling to prevent.

    “Some of these killings have been claimed by extremists – but they have been facilitated by the official failure to prosecute anyone responsible,” says Abbas Faiz, Amnesty International’s Bangladesh Researcher. “The murder of Bijoy Das again shows that Bangladesh is not doing enough to protect critics of religious intolerance, or to prosecute their attackers.”

    “The prevalent impunity for all these cases continues to send a message that such attacks are tolerated by the authorities. Ending impunity and ensuring protection for those at risk must be a priority for the Bangladeshi authorities.”

    March 30, 2015

    The horrifying murder of a blogger who was hacked to death in Dhaka this morning, the second violent killing of a Bangladeshi blogger in a month, must be a “wake up call” to the authorities on the need to create a safe environment for journalists and activists to express their views, said Amnesty International.

    Washiqur Rahman was killed near his home in Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka. Two men have been arrested near the scene. Police has said the blogger was attacked for his alleged “anti-Islamic” writings.

    His murder comes a month after US-based writer and atheist blogger Avijit Roy was killed with a machete while visiting the Bangladeshi capital. He had previously received threats for his atheist views. Police have arrested one suspect.

    March 05, 2015

    Bangladesh authorities should investigate and bring to justice in fair trials all those responsible for heinous petrol bomb attacks, Amnesty International said after another 20 people were wounded overnight.

    “There can be no justification for these horrific petrol bomb attacks, which invariably target members of the general public. These incidents must be thoroughly investigated and those responsible held to account,” said Abbas Faiz, Amnesty International’s Bangladesh Researcher.

    “Politically, Bangladesh is on a knife’s edge, and the violence is threatening to spiral out of control. Leaders on all sides of the political divide have a duty to ensure this does not happen – they must act responsibly and publicly call on their supporters not to engage in human rights abuses.”

    The human rights situation in Bangladesh has seen a sharp deterioration as supporters of the government and the opposition have clashed on the streets of Dhaka and other major cities since January.

    January 29, 2015

    The Bangladeshi authorities risk exacerbating an already violent situation by giving police carte blanche to use excessive force in response to a recent wave of horrific petrol bomb attacks amid ongoing violent political protests, Amnesty International said today.

    Media reports yesterday quoted Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as saying: “as the head of the government I'm giving [the police] the liberty to take any action wherever and whenever it will be deemed necessary” to stop the arson attacks that have already resulted in more than two dozen deaths.

    “Remarks like these carry a high risk of being seen as an open invitation for the police to use unnecessary and excessive force against demonstrators or even to carry out extrajudicial executions – which Bangladeshi security forces have carried out with appalling frequency in the past,” said Abbas Faiz, Amnesty International’s Bangladesh Researcher.

    January 08, 2015

    Bangladeshi authorities must investigate the killing of protesters and release prisoners – including a prominent journalist and an opposition leader – arrested this week as part of an apparent crackdown against the opposition Bangladesh National Party (BNP), Amnesty International said.

    Two people were reported killed on Wednesday night during clashes between police and BNP supporters in the southern district of Noakhali. At least six people have been killed in protests since Monday.

    “The government of Bangladesh has a duty to launch an immediate, thorough and independent investigation into these deaths and bring those responsible to justice,” said Abbas Faiz, Bangladesh Researcher at Amnesty International.

    The unrest in Bangladesh comes a year after a disputed election on 5 January 2014 that brought to power the current Awami League government, led by Sheikh Hasina.

    The opposition boycotted the election. On the anniversary of the vote this year, the BNP leader, Khaleda Zia, urged supporters to take to the streets and enforce a transport blockade.

    November 03, 2014

    Bangladesh must immediately impose a moratorium on executions as a first step towards abolition of the death penalty and ensure that political interference does not mar judicial processes, Amnesty International said after the confirmation of two fresh death sentences over two days.

    Bangladesh’s Supreme Court today upheld the death sentence against Mohammad Kamaruzzaman, a senior leader of the opposition Jamaat-e-Islami party. Kamaruzzaman was first sentenced to death in May 2013, on charges of involvement in killings, by the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT), a Bangladeshi court examining the events of the country’s 1971 Independence War.

    “The relentless push to impose death sentences in Bangladesh is deeply worrying. After a hiatus of nine months since the last death sentence was announced, three more men have now been sentenced to the gallows in the space of less than a week,” said Abbas Faiz, Amnesty International’s Bangladesh Researcher.

    “Far from bringing justice to the millions of victims of the Independence War and their family members, executions will only perpetuate a cycle of violence.”

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