Death By Law Enforcement Agencies | 2013

  • 208 Deaths in 2013 by Law Enforcement Agencies
  • 179  Extra Judicial Killings by Law Enforcement Agencies
  • 24 people allegedly killed by RAB ”Cross fires”
  • 17 people allegedly killed by Police ”Cross fire”
  • 1 allegedly killed by Border Guard Bangladesh
  • 26 people tortured to death in Police custody

Despite the assurance of the present government in their election manifesto to stop extra-judicial killings, in their last year of  government,  State actors have been involved in various types of killings like ”crossfire”, gun fights, fire exchange and encounter of the law enforcement agencies, in addition,  incidents of  killing and torture under police custody have increased.

 Extrajudicial Killings

The execution of suspects without due process is a continuing violation occurring frequently in Bangladesh. This is a grave human rights violation. It is both a violation of constitution of the Peoples’ Republic of Bangladesh, Article 31: Right to Protection of the law, Article 32: Protection of right to life and personal liberty and Article 35: Protection in respect of trial and Punishment.

A violation occurs when there is deprivation of life of a person;

  • Outside any due judicial process
  • As a result of an act or an order
  • by a state actor or by any other person acting with the complicity, tolerance or consent of the state.

There has been a continuation of this practice in 2013 (See Table Below). The State have the obligation to ensure the persons responsible for violations are brought to justice.

Example of a few cases in 2013

  • 12 September 2013 , RAB personnel allegedly shot dead Mohammad Atear Rahman a farmer, in Kushtia district. RAB said he was killed in “crossfire”, although Atear Rahman’s family and other witnesses said RAB had arrested him at his home the previous evening. His body reportedly bore three gunshot wounds, two in the back.
  • 1 August 2013, Tarek the prime suspect in the killing of Juba League leader was killed in a crossfire incident with the RAB at Kawla in the city. RAB had also informed that Tarek, Shah Alam was also killed at that incident. Before the crossfire he was under treatment in Uttara. RAB said, they were going to hand over Tarek to Gulshan Police. As they reached Kawla around 10.15 PM, a group of 10 to 12 criminals attacked  them and RAB officers also fired on them to defend themselves. After a 30-35 minutes gun fight the miscreants left the place, they searched the spot and found the dead body of Tarek and Shah Alam. Earlier print and electronic medias reports visited the place and saw the blood stained body of Tarek, clad in white trousers and an ash coloured T-shirt which was seen in the middle row of a microbus, his back side was ravaged with bullets.
  • 12 June 2013, a man named Waris Ali, died at Sylhet Osmani Medical College Hospital allegedly because of excessive torture in police custody in Chhatak upazila of the district.
  • 22 May 2013, a youth, Shamim Reza sand trader, died after police had tortured him for his failure to pay the money demanded for his release, said the victim’s relatives.
  • 6 May 2013, 16 demonstrators were killed by police in several attacks carried out to disperse the Dhaka Siege program.
  • 13 April 2013, Three men died in a so called “gun fight” in Sundarban forest, claimed by the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB).
  • 1 March 2013, Mr. Korban Ali, 25 year old man was killed by RAB -11. A RAB bullet hit Korban in the head and he allegedly died at the scene. Mr. Saddam Hossain, the deceased’s nephew, witnessed the incident and was himself injured by gunfire.
  • 4 March 2013, two men were killed by the RAB in Kochua of Chandpur. As usual RAB demanded that these 2 men were robber. Denying RAB’s demand, the local says they were 2 active activists of the opposition political party Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).
  • February 2013 The number of dead due to police shootouts, increased when the war crimes trials verdict of Saydee had been announced, a country wide wave of violence had spread.

Death by Law Enforcement Agency Q4

 State Responsibility

In the Universal Periodic Review of Bangladesh, held on 29 April 2013, United Nations Human Rights Council, Geneva, Dipu Moni, Foreign Minister of the Bangladesh government at the time claimed the government had a ”Zero Tolerance” policy on human rights violations by law enforcement officers.

The Minister also claimed that there is no scope for impunity for Law enforcement agencies under Bangladesh laws and the Codes of Conduct and Rules of Engagement of the concerned agencies. Any incident of human rights violation or use of excessive or firearms is subject to investigation, prosecution, legal and disciplinary actions. The Minister reported that 1,678 Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) members have so far been subjected to prosecution and conviction, including imprisonment and dismissal.

The government were  made numerous recommendations by member states to undertake further steps to effectively investigate alleged human rights violations by Law Enforcing Agencies and to bring to justice to police or other security personnel who were allegedly engaged in acts of brutality and torture

In a National Seminar (see details)  the Human Rights Forum Bangladesh (HRFB) held on 29 July 2013 with Government representatives, HRBF made the following proposals for the Government of Bangladesh (GOB) :

  • GOB should acknowledge the incidents of extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances and provide clear commitment and procedure to hold those accountable. GOB should also provide time-bound commitment to bring legal reforms to address those human rights violations.
  • GOB should make commitment specifying the process of establishing an independent commission to ensure transparent and accountable investigation and prosecution of alleged human rights violations by state as well as non-state actors, and reparations for victims.
  • GOB should commit to initiate both criminal and departmental proceedings immediately after the allegation of human rights violation by LEAs.

There has been no response from the government since.