Fate and whereabouts of UK-Bangladeshi man unknown; Amnesty International calls for urgent action
The fate and whereabouts of UK-Bangladeshi national Yasin Talukder remain unknown five months after his enforced disappearance. The British diplomatic mission in Bangladesh has confirmed he is being detained by Bangladeshi authorities since July, although the authorities deny any involvement.
Yasin Talukder, a UK-Bangladeshi national, was abducted on 14 July 2016 in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. Eyewitnesses claim that a group of men, which they allege were members of the security forces, took Yasin Talukder away in a black microbus. Dr Suraya Talukder, Yasin Talukder’s mother, told Amnesty International and also explained to The Wire, in an article published on 4 November 2016, that two men who identified themselves as officers of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB, an elite police force) visited her in the home she shares with her son seven days after the abduction. They seized Yasin Talukder’s electrical equipment, including his computers, despite providing no warrant. When asked why they were taking the equipment they said it was because Yasin’s phone was not on him. Dr Suraya Talukder asked whether that meant Yasin Talukder was in their custody. They replied, ‘No, we do not have him’ and insisted they were there to investigate Yasin’s abduction. Yasin Talukder’s whereabouts remain unknown. He is at risk of torture or other ill-treatment.
The British High Commission, the UK diplomatic mission in Bangladesh, has recently confirmed that Yasin Talukder has been detained by Bangladeshi security forces since his abduction. The RAB, which has been widely implicated in human rights violations, including enforced disappearances, has publicly denied any involvement in Yasin Talukder’s abduction. Yasin Talukder’s enforced disappearance took place shortly after the attack on a restaurant in Dhaka on 2 July which killed 20 people, including 18 foreigners. His abduction may have been motivated by the suspicion that he is linked to militants.
Rights groups, including Amnesty International, have catalogued an alarming rise in the number of enforced disappearances in Bangladesh since 2009.The Bangladeshi human rights NGO Odhikar recorded 64 cases of enforced disappearance in 2015, compared to 3 cases in 2009.