Document - Bangladesh: writers at risk of torture

URGENT ACTION

UA: 95/13 Index: ASA 13/006/2013 Bangladesh Date: 15 April 2013

URGENT ACTION

writers at risk of torture

Newspaper Editor Mahmudur Rahman was arrested in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on 11 April after he published articles criticising the government and some bloggers. On 3 April blogger Asif Mohiudeen was also arrested in Dhaka after he was alleged to have posted blasphemous comments online. Both men are at risk of torture.

Mahmudur Rahman was arrested at his office on 11 April 2013 after the newspaper he works for, Amar Desh, published articles that criticised the government and some bloggers whose comments were perceived to be blasphemous. Amar Desh is linked to the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party. On 12 April he was remanded into police custody for 13 days. Mahmudur Rahman has been previously detained and tortured for publishing articles critical of the current Awami League government.

The police arrested blogger Asif Mohiudeen on 3 April after having allegedly posted blasphemous comments online. In January, Asif Mohiudeen was attacked, beaten and stabbed in Dhaka. He had previously received threats calling on him to stop his writing.

Both Mahmudur Rahman and Asif Mohiudeen are at risk of torture.

Please write immediately in English or your own language:

Calling on the Bangladesh authorities to ensure that Mahmudur Rahman and Asif Mohiudeen are not subjected to torture or any other ill-treatment;

Calling on the authorities to ensure that journalists and bloggers are able to exercise their rights to freedom of expression without fear of reprisals, harassment or detention;

Calling on the authorities to ensure that attacks against journalists and bloggers are thoroughly investigated and those responsible brought to justice.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 27 MAY 2013 TO:

Sheikh Hasina

Prime Minister

Prime Minister's Office�Old Sangsad Bhaban

Tejgaon

Dhaka-1215

Bangladesh

Fax: +880 2 811 3244

Email: pm@pmo.gov.bd; ps1topm@pmo.gov.bd; psecy@pmo.gov.bd

Salutation: Dear Prime Minister

Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir

Home Minister

Ministry of Home Affairs

H-16, R-25, B-A, Banani�Dhaka-1213

Bangladesh

Fax: +880 2 7164788

Email: mkalamgir@yahoo.com / minister@mha.gov.bd

Salutation: Dear Home Minister

And copies to:

Inspector General of Police

Mr Hassan Mahmud Khandker

Bangladesh Police HQ

Dhaka-1000

Bangladesh

Fax: +880 2 7125840

Email: ig@police.gov.bd

Salutation: Dear Inspector General

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please insert local diplomatic addresses below:

Name Address 1 Address 2 Address 3 Fax Fax number Email Email address Salutation Salutation

Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.

URGENT ACTION

writers at risk of torture

ADditional Information

The arrest of Mahmudur Rahman and Asif Mohiudeen are the latest in a recent crackdown on journalists and bloggers.

Political tension has escalated in Bangladesh including over the trials of those accused of war crimes during Bangladesh’s 1971 war of independence. The Shahbag neighbourhood of Dhaka has seen mass protests calling for the maximum punishment, which amounts to the death penalty, for those accused of crimes under international law. Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all circumstances. �

While the Shahbagh demonstrators have been calling for the harsher sentences for the accused, counter rallies by Islamic parties have been calling for the release of the accused and introduction of more restrictive Islamic policies in the country.

Opposition protesters have clashed with police and ruling party supporters, with scores of people killed including police officers. Some people have died from beatings and other attacks from opposition protesters. Others were believed to have been shot by the police.

On 15 February, blogger Ahmed Rajib Haidar was brutally beaten and stabbed to death in his home in Dhaka. No one is known to have been brought to justice for these attacks.

Mahmudur Rahman was previously detained and tortured in 2010 after publishing articles critical of the current Awami League government. Since December 2012 he has been threatened with prosecution for publishing a Skype conversation between the then chairman of the Bangladeshi court, the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) and a Bangladeshi legal expert. Following the publication of the conversation, the chairman of the court resigned.

Name: Mahmudur Rahman and Asif Mohiudeen

Gender m/f: Both male.

UA: 95/13 Index: ASA 13/006/2013 Issue Date: 15 April 2013

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