Releasing a 39-page report - "The Torture of Tasneem Khalil: How the Bangladesh Military Abuses Its Power Under the State of Emergency" - US-based Human Rights Watch has called upon what it called the 'reform-minded' Bangladeshi government and its donor countries to urgently tackle the endemic problem of torture.
The arbitrary arrest and torture of journalist Tasneem Khalil by Bangladesh’s notorious military intelligence agency highlights abuses under the country’s state of emergency and the interim government’s failure to restrain the security forces, Human Rights Watch said in a new report today.<snip>
At a detention center operated by the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI), the military intelligence agency, officers brutally beat and threatened Khalil, a journalist for the English-language Daily Star, part-time consultant for Human Rights Watch, and a news representative for CNN. Demonstrating just how confident they are that they will not be held accountable, DGFI officials even brought Khalil to meet the editor of his paper before returning him to the detention center for further beatings.
I recommend reading the complete report here.
According to the report, some common forms of torture in Bangladesh include brutal practices such as burning with acid, hammering of nails into toes, drilling of holes in legs with electric drills, electric shocks, beatings on legs with iron rods, beating with batons on backs after sprinkling sand on them, ice torture, finger piercing, and mock executions.
The report includes Khalil's statement. An excerpt below:
“[A member of the arresting party] jumped up from the chair, pulled out a revolver from his holster, pushed it against my lips, and started shouting, ‘You are under arrest.’ I started shouting back, telling them that what they were doing was illegal. Then all of them started shouting abusive words at me, telling me to shut up, otherwise there would be problems for my wife and child. Throughout, my wife Shuchi and son Tiyash were watching the whole thing.
“Then they asked me about my connections with Human Rights Watch. I told them I work as their consultant. When they inquired further, I told them I had worked with Human Rights Watch since 2006. I worked with Human Rights Watch on a report about extrajudicial killings by RAB. That suddenly infuriated them so much that all of them started hitting the table with hands and sticks and started shouting at me. ‘How dare you write against our brothers in RAB? You are a burden on society. You are an immoral, unethical insect, an anti-state criminal.’ Someone came around the table and started punching me on my head again.
Here is CPJ's profile on Bangladesh's press freedom record in 2007.
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