Citizens decry Kamal’s torture in RAB custodyMuktadir Rashid and Mohibub Zaman
Legal experts and rights activists expressed their grave concern over the arrest of a garment worker and torture on him to force him into making confession by the Rapid Action Battalion.
The experts said that the members of RAB, involved in the operation, had violated the constitutional rights of a citizen by such mistreatment and asked the authorities to compensate Kamal Hossain, 30, linesman of Design and Source Limited at Karwan Bazar in the capital.
Rights activist Shahdeen Malik, also a Supreme Court lawyer and dean of BRAC University’s school of law, said that the law enforcer involved in the brutality would have been punished and the victim compensated in any civilised country.
‘But our state is not civilised and hence many fall victim to such mistreatment by law enforcers,’ he told New Age in his reaction to Kamal’s torture on suspicion.
The National Human Rights Commission chairman, Mizanur Rahman, suggested that the law enforcers should be a little more cautious while carrying out their duties.
‘If they [law enforcers] violate human rights even by mistake, the image of the country suffers,’ he said.
Rights organisation Odhikar in its monthly report said RAB had tortured Kamal to force him into making confession in connection with the murder of physician Narayan Chandra Dutta.
The Dhaka Metropolitan Police spokesperson, Monirul Islam, also the deputy commissioner of the Detective Branch of police (south), told New Age that RAB had brought Kamal to the DB office mistaking him for a suspect of the same name as none of the suspects arrested in the murder case could identify him as their associate.
Odhikar’s secretary Adilur Rahman Khan said the law enforcers, particularly RAB, continued violating human rights despite widespread criticism of its activities by the rights campaigners.
In the case of Kamal, he said, the authorities should launch an inquiry and punish the offenders.
The Awami League in its election manifesto had said,
‘Rule of law will be established...Human rights will be strictly enforced.’
Nur Khan Liton, director investigation of Ain O Salish Kendra, said the RAB continued violating human rights misusing the authority delegated to them.
‘Such incidents are taking place as they [law enforcers] have no accountability to the authorities,’ he said, adding, ‘Punitive action should be taken against the members of law enforcement agencies who abuse power and mistreat citizens.’
Former inspector general of police ASM Shahjahan declined comments.
Section 33 (2) of the constitution said, ‘Every person who is arrested and detained in custody shall be produced before the nearest magistrate within a period of twenty-four hours of such arrest, excluding the time necessary for the journey from the place of arrest to the court of the magistrate, and no such person shall be detained in custody beyond the said period without the authority of a magistrate.’
But, Kamal said, he was picked up by RAB men in plain clothes from his rented house at Paschchim Rajabazar at about 6:00am on August 25 and the police produced him in a Dhaka court on August 27 on a general diary filed by RAB-1 subinspector Shahin Mohammad Anu Islam.
Kamal gave the horrific details of his torture in RAB custody to New Age.
He said, ‘They [RAB men] asked me why I was sleeping after allegedly committing the robbery. They picked me up blindfolded.’
Kamal could not say where he was kept during the interrogation and torture by RAB but said the RAB men had untied the blindfold when he was driven to the Banani police station from Uttara.
Kamal said RAB members had subjected him to electric shock to force him into confessing that he was involved in the murder and robbery.
Kamal, still struggling to recover from the trauma after being released on August 27, said he did not feel secure. He joined work on Saturday.
Banani police said RAB had handed over Kamal to them and filed the GD on the night of August 26 saying that they had arrested at Banani on suspicion at about 11:45pm.
RAB-1 commanding officer lieutenant colonel Rashidul Alam told New Age on Sunday that Kamal was not the suspect they were looking for.
‘But, Kamal had talked to the criminals several times over mobile after the killing,’ he claimed.
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