PUBLIC AI Index: ASA 13/010/2002
UA 260/02 Fear of torture 23 August 2002
BANGLADESHKamal Ahmed Majumder (m), former MP
Amnesty International is concerned for the safety of opposition party Awami
League politician and former member of parliament, Kamal Ahmed Majumder.
According to Bangladeshi media reports, he was arrested at his home in Dhaka
sometime between late night on Wednesday 21 August or in the early hours of
Thursday 22 August. He is in danger of being tortured.
He was reportedly arrested by the police under section 54 of the Code of Criminal
Procedure. Section 54 allows the police to detain people without a warrant
Kamal Ahmed Majumder has not been charged but is being kept in detention for
further questioning. Most instances of torture occur prior to suspects being
charged. According to Amnesty International’s information, almost all people
arrested under Section 54 have been subjected to torture by the police. These
prisoners have included several opposition Awami League politicians.
According to reports, police also went to the residences of other Awami League
leaders to arrest them, but fearing arrest and possible torture, these
politicians had gone into hiding.
Past governments in Bangladesh have all pursued a policy of harassment,
intimidation and arrest of opposition politicians. Following October 2001
general elections in Bangladesh which were won by a Bangladesh National Party
(BNP) led coalition which includes two Islamist parties, there have been
sporadic waves of arrests members of the opposition party Awami League
politicians on what appear to be politically motivated grounds.
Earlier this year, two senior members of the Awami League, Dr. Mohiuddin Alamgir
and Bahauddin Nasim were subjected to torture after being arrested. Dr. Alamgir
was arrested on 15 March 2002. When he was produced before the High Court nine
days later he claimed that he had been beaten by three masked men with bamboo
sticks and glass bottles filled with water while in police custody. He also
claimed to have been beaten on his buttocks, feet and other muscular parts
of his body. He was denied medicines required for his diabetes.
Bahauddin Nasim, a private secretary to the leader of the Awami League, was
arrested on 28 February. While he was in custody Bahauddin Nasim says that
he was tied up, hooded, severely beaten, and given electric shocks.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible, in
English or your own language:
-expressing concern about the safety of Kamal Ahmed Majumder, seeking guarantees
that he will not be subjected to torture or ill-treatment
- urging the authorities to ensure that Kamal Ahmad Majumder has access to
a lawyer, members of his family and adequate medical attention;
- urging the authorities to investigate allegations of torture of other
detainees, including other Awami League politicians, make the results of this
investigation public, and bring those responsible to justice.
- Calling on the authorities to release Kamal Ahmad Majumder immediately and
unconditionally, if he is not to be charged with a recognizable criminal offence.