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Bangladesh

    October 29, 2014

    The death sentence against a leading opposition figure in Bangladesh for war crimes will not bring justice to the millions of victims of the independence war, Amnesty International said.

    Additionally, the defence team has consistently raised concerns that trial proceedings have not followed fair trial standards.

    Motiur Rahman Nizami, head of Jamaat-e-Islami, the third largest political party in Bangladesh, was sentenced to death for war crimes today by the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT), a Bangladeshi court established to investigate the events of Bangladesh’s 1971 independence war.

    “Bangladesh must overturn the death sentence against Motiur Rahman Nizami and all others. The death penalty is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment and can never be a way to deliver justice,” said Abbas Faiz, Amnesty International’s Bangladesh Researcher.

    “The crimes committed during the independence war were horrific, and there is no question that victims deserve justice. But the death penalty only perpetuates the cycle of violence.”

    September 02, 2014

    Bangladeshi authorities must immediately tackle a disturbing rise in enforced disappearances over the past two years, stop the use of torture, and end their increasing crackdown on freedom of expression, Amnesty International said today in a new briefing.

    The briefing sets out some of the key human rights issues facing Bangladesh following the January 2014 elections, and makes recommendations to the government on issues which demand urgent attention.

    “Bangladesh has made progress on reducing poverty and other development indicators, but this has not been matched when it comes to respecting human rights, such as torture or removing restrictions on freedom of expression,” said Abbas Faiz, Amnesty International’s Bangladesh Researcher.

    “We have also documented a disturbing trend that suggests the security forces are responsible for a continuing pattern of disappearances, even though they deny it. The government has to take a long, hard look at the conduct of its own security forces, and end the almost complete lack of accountability around these cases.”

    Enforced disappearances

    April 24, 2014

    Caption:A Bangladeshi mourner and relative of a victim of the Rana Plaza building collapse weeps as she takes part in a protest marking the first anniversary of the disaster at the site where the building once stood in Savar on the outskirts of Dhaka on April 24, 2014. The Rana Plaza building collapsed on April 24, 2013, killing 1138 workers in the world's worst garment factory disaster. Western fashion brands faced pressure to increase help for victims as mass protests marked the anniversary. Thousands of people, some wearing funeral shrouds, staged demonstrations at the site of the now-infamous Rana Plaza factory complex.AFP PHOTO / Munir uz ZAMAN (Photo credit should read MUNIR UZ ZAMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

    By Joe Westby, Corporate Campaigner at Amnesty International

    December 12, 2013

    Today’s hanging of Islamist leader Abdul Quader Mollah is a disgrace, and Bangladeshi authorities must now ensure that people are protected against reprisal attacks, said Amnesty International.

    “The execution of Abdul Quader Mollah should never have happened. The death penalty is a human rights violation and should not be used to punish other alleged human rights violations,” said Abbas Faiz, Amnesty International’s Bangladesh Researcher.

    “The country is on a razor’s edge at the moment with pre-election tensions running high and almost non-stop street protests. Mollah’s execution could trigger more violence, with the Hindu community bearing the brunt.”

    Mollah, a key figure in the Islamist opposition party Jamaat-e-Islami, was executed in Dhaka today. He was sentenced to life imprisonment in February for crimes against humanity by the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT), a court investigating Bangladesh’s 1971 independence war.

    November 05, 2013

    Today’s death sentences handed down by a Bangladeshi court to 152 people involved in a 2009 mutiny are a perversion of justice, Amnesty International said.

    “Justice has not been served with today’s ruling, which, if carried out, will only result in 152 more human rights violations,” said Polly Truscott, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia-Pacific Director.

    Those sentenced were among hundreds of troops from the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) convicted of engaging in unlawful killings, hostage taking and other human rights violations committed during the February 2009 mutiny. Amnesty International has previously condemned the violence and called for those responsible to be brought to justice in fair trials.

    “There is no question that the 2009 mutiny was a brutal series of events that left in its wake scores of people dead and a traumatized population. It is understandable that the Bangladeshi authorities want to draw a line under this episode, but to resort to the use of the death penalty can only compound the suffering,” said Truscott.

    October 01, 2013

    The death sentence imposed against a Bangladeshi MP convicted of crimes against humanity is not the way to bring justice to the many victims of the country’s war of independence, Amnesty International said today.

    “The many victims of horrific abuses during Bangladesh’s independence war and their families have long deserved justice but the death penalty is not the answer. One human rights abuse cannot make amends for another,” said Abbas Faiz, Bangladesh Researcher at Amnesty International.
     
    “Bangladesh must overturn the death sentence against Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury and all others. The death penalty is the ultimate cruel and inhuman punishment and can never be a way to deliver justice.”

    Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury, six-time Member of Parliament from the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party, was found guilty of crimes including genocide and torture committed during Bangladesh’s war of independence with Pakistan in 1971.

    His family has said that he will appeal the sentence.

    September 17, 2013

    Bangladesh should immediately commute the death sentence of Abdul Quader Mollah, Amnesty International said after the Supreme Court increased his sentence from life imprisonment to death following an appeal by the government.

    Mollah, a senior leader in the opposition Jamaat-e-Islami party was first sentenced to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity by the Bangladeshi International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) in February 2013. The tribunal was set up in 2010 to try those accused of committing war crimes during Bangladesh’s 1971 independence war.

    “We are very concerned about the Supreme Court’s ruling and the apparent relentless effort by the government to ensure that Mollah could be put to death. We urge Bangladeshi authorities to commute his death sentence, and to impose a moratorium on executions as a first step towards abolishing the death penalty,” said Abbas Faiz, Amnesty International’s Bangladesh Researcher.

    August 12, 2013

    The arrest of a prominent Bangladeshi human rights defender over the weekend is a clear violation of the right to freedom of expression, Amnesty International said.

    The organization has adopted Adilur Rahman Khan as a prisoner of conscience following his arrest without a warrant on 10 August. He is being detained solely for peacefully challenging alleged human rights violations by Bangladesh security forces.

    “Adilur Rahman Khan’s arrest sends a chilling message to government critics – if you raise concerns about human rights, there will be serious consequences. He must be released immediately and unconditionally,” said Abbas Faiz, Bangladesh researcher at Amnesty International.

    “Instead of punishing human rights defenders, the Bangladeshi authorities must address alleged violations by carrying out investigations and holding accountable those responsible.”

    Adilur Rahman Khan is the secretary of Dhaka-based human rights organization Odhikar. Yesterday detectives searched Odhikar’s office, seizing computers and other equipment.

    July 17, 2013

    Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujaheed, a key member of the opposition Jamaat-e-Islami party, was today sentenced to death for charges including abduction and murder at the International Crimes Tribunal in Dhaka. The tribunal is a Bangladeshi court.

    “It is extremely regrettable that Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujaheed has been handed the death penalty. The war crimes tribunal is a historic opportunity for justice and reconciliation in Bangladesh, but punishing an alleged human rights violation with another is not the answer,” said Abbas Faiz, Amnesty International’s Bangladesh Researcher.

    “The death penalty violates the right to life as recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. We oppose it in all cases, without exception,” said Faiz.

    “We are already seeing violent protests in Bangladesh in response to these verdicts. There have been injuries on both sides in clashes between opposition parties and the police over the past two days. It is crucial that police do not use excessive force against demonstrators.”

    June 12, 2013

    The Bangladeshi government’s failure to address rights to traditional lands in the eastern Chittagong Hill Tracts region has left tens of thousands of Pahari Indigenous people landless and trapped in a cycle of violent clashes with Bengali settlers, Amnesty International said in a new report released today.

    The report, Pushed to the Edge, documents how the Pahari are still waiting for the government to live up to the terms of an accord signed more than 15 years ago, by restoring their traditional lands to them.

    Clashes between the Pahari and Bengali settlers in the region over land use are all too common.

    “The current situation, with violent clashes being fuelled by disputes over land, continues to cause immense insecurity and suffering for the Pahari Indigenous People, and the Bangladeshi authorities have to address it immediately,” said Andrew Erueti, Amnesty International’s Researcher on Indigenous Peoples’ Rights.

    “That the Pahari Indigenous People are being denied their traditional lands, or adequate compensation for land taken away from them, is a clear violation of international human rights law.”

    May 07, 2013

    The Bangladeshi authorities must immediately set up an independent and impartial investigation into police use of force after at least 44 people died in violent clashes between protesters and the police, Amnesty International said.

    Tens of thousands of supporters of the Islamist group Hefazat-e-Islam took to the streets in the capital Dhaka and elsewhere in Bangladesh on 5 May and the early hours of 6 May.

    They demanded the introduction of stricter religious laws, including the introduction of a blasphemy law and restrictions on women’s human rights, including their freedom of movement.

    The demonstrations turned violent as protesters clashed with police in Dhaka.

    “There is considerable confusion about what really happened, and why the deaths occurred. There must urgently be an immediate independent and impartial investigation into the events, including the police use of force. The perpetrators must be brought to justice,” said Polly Truscott, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia-Pacific Director.

    March 06, 2013

    A wave of violent attacks against Bangladesh’s minority Hindu community shows the urgent need for authorities to provide them with better protection, Amnesty International said.

    Over the past week, individuals taking part in strikes called for by Islamic parties have vandalised more than 40 Hindu temples across Bangladesh.

    Scores of shops and houses belonging to the Hindu community have also been burned down, leaving hundreds of people homeless.

    The attacks come in the context of large scale violent protests that have been raging across Bangladesh for weeks over the country’s ongoing war crimes tribunal, the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT).

    “The Hindu community in Bangladesh is at extreme risk, in particular at such a tense time in the country. It is shocking that they appear to be targeted simply for their religion. The authorities must ensure that they receive the protection they need,” said Abbas Faiz, Amnesty International’s Bangladesh Researcher.

    February 20, 2013

    A string of recent violent attacks against journalists and media workers, including the murder of a blogger, shows the urgent need to better protect individuals commenting on Bangladesh’s ongoing war crimes tribunal, Amnesty International said.

    The latest attack on Wednesday morning left a journalist from an online news site seriously injured.

    Those targeted include journalists and bloggers calling on the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) to impose death sentences on people accused of mass scale human rights abuses during Bangladesh’s 1971 independence war.

    “The government must do their utmost to ensure that individuals at risk of retaliation for commenting on or interacting with the ICT  are given the protection they need. People must be able to exercise their right to freedom of expression without fear,” said Abbas Faiz, Amnesty International’s Bangladesh Researcher.

    On Friday 15 February, blogger Ahmed Rajib Haidar was brutally beaten and stabbed to death in his home in the capital Dhaka.

    February 15, 2013

    The Bangladesh government must not let a proposed new legal amendment lead to a push for death sentences for those convicted in its ongoing war crimes tribunal, Amnesty International said.

    Bangladesh’s International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) was set up in 2010 to try people suspected of crimes under international law, including genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, committed during the country’s 1971 war of independence.

    On Sunday, Parliament is likely to pass an amendment to the law governing the ICT’s proceedings, which will enable prosecutors to appeal for the death penalty for those sentenced to imprisonment in the tribunal. Current procedures allow the defence the right to appeal in all circumstances, but permit the prosecution to appeal only against an acquittal.

    “Given the extremely tense situation in Bangladesh, there is a real risk that the government will use this amendment to push for those tried in the ICT to be sentenced to death,” said Abbas Faiz, Amnesty International’s Bangladesh researcher.

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