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    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.”

    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.


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