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Open letter to Mrs. Sheikh Hasina
Wednesday, 23 January 2013
Dear Prime Minister,

I am William Nicholas Gomes, Human Rights Ambassador for US based As a human rights activist and journalist I am working for prevention of Torture in the country.

I am really shocked you are your government has adopted a torture friendly policy and practiced tortured friendly policing in Bangladesh.

During Inaugurating the Police Week-2013 at Rajarbag Police Line you have praised police officials for their discharging duties with full neutrality and dutifulness to maintain law and order, contain terrorism and protect public life and property.

You have said “Our government has completed its four years in office. During this period we have carried out huge development work, where the police force has an immense role.”

I am really shocked that you have praised the role of police. It is well known that that Bangladesh police have widely used torture as their method of law enforcement and they go political support from your government and even some of them get awarded formally and informally by your government.

Publicly you have said that your party does not believe in using police as a political weapon. “Police will act to protect the public safety according to the law. The duty of the police is to bring the law breakers to book, whatever powerful they are.”

By the years you have made the mockery of justice .And the shining example is awarding a torturer with police president award.

You have awarded torturer Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Police Harun-ur-Rashid with Police Medal for assaulting opposition chief whip Zainal Abdin Farroque during a hartal day in 2011.

Zainal Abdin Farroque was assaulted by then ADC (Tejgaon division) Harun-ur-Rashid at Manik Miah Avenue in the capital during a countrywide hartal enforced by opposition BNP on 7 July 2011. Later, he was promoted as DC of Police amid widespread criticism last year.

Following the police torture , Joynal Abedin Faruk, chief whip of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), sustained serious head injuries was admitted to the intensive care unit of a Dhaka hospital.

Footage on the Bangla Vision TV channel showed a heavily bleeding Faruk being chased by baton-wielding riot police lead by DC Harunur Rashid

BNP spokesman Rizvi ahmed told media after the incident that “Faruk was beaten by police with batons mercilessly as he was leading a peaceful protest of BNP parliamentarians.”

I want to remind you that, four years ago, your government represented by your Foreign Minister, claimed at the UN Human Rights Council’s UPR Session on February 3, 2009, that your government had ‘zero tolerance’ to extrajudicial killings, torture and other gross forms of human rights abuses.

Surprisingly after almost four years in office your government has not set a single example before the people of Bangladesh, what your government had pledged earlier, of bringing the perpetrators of human rights abuses to the book.

In Bangladesh policing system synonymous to coerciveness, and used by years to brutalize the political opposition, and ordinary citizens, of the country.

You have pushed the people of Bangladesh towards tremendous frustration and hopelessness by awarding torturer police officer Harun –Ur –Rashid and your government continuously destroying the possibility to achieve justice from the criminal justice system.

You have used the entire governmental machinery of Bangladesh, with its retinue of law-enforcement units, intelligence agencies, and security forces to oppress the opposition political parties.

Police are and have been used as the hired thugs by your government as of all the ruling regimes. By the years political policing in the country had become a source of creating victims of torture and fabrication of criminal charges against civilians and political opponents. Instead of helping the tax payers police has used the policing service as a profit making industry by using all illegal means and all those illegal activities were approved and today another torturer has been awarded by you.

I urge you instead of awarding torturer and breaking the public trust and the promise you have made to the people of Bangladesh, please immediately legislate “Torture and Custodial Death (Prohibition) Bill-2011″, which has been unanimously recommended by the Parliamentary Committee on Private Members’ Bill and Resolution to enact as a law.

I also urge you your government must implement ‘zero tolerance against torture’ by establishing right to fair trials for every victim of torture whenever torture takes place regardless of political or social or religious identities of the survivors of torture, without any form of impunity to the perpetrators torture of any agency.

In order to ensure justice to the parties the government should also initiate thorough reforms of the country’s criminal justice institutions including the criminal investigation system, prosecutorial system and the system of administering justice by enabling them to function credibly and independently with judicial mindsets. There is an immediate need of an effective ‘witness protection mechanism’ in Bangladesh for the sake of establishing justice as well.

I would be happy to discuss these issues, in person or by phone, with you or your collaborators at any time of your convenience.

- William Nicholas Gomes

Human Rights Ambassador for