Amnesty International Press Release
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Amnesty International Calls on UK-Trained Security Forces to Stop Extrajudicial Executions in Bangladesh
Organization Urges the United Kingdom to Raise Concerns with the Prime Minister of Bangladesh while he Visits this Week
Contact: AIUSA Media Relations, 202-509-8194
(Washington, D.C.) –Amnesty International is calling on the United Kingdom government to raise concerns about reports of torture, extrajudicial executions, and excessive use of force by the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) with the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina.
Sheikh Hasina is in the United Kingdom this week amid a flurry of accusations about extrajudicial executions carried out by Bangladeshi security forces.
Amnesty International and other human rights organizations have documented repeated instances of human rights violations by the RAB in the past five years. More than 600 people are thought to have been killed by RAB personnel since 2004 when the battalion was created.
In most cases, victims have died in the custody of the RAB, but police authorities routinely reported that the victims were killed during "crossfire", police "shoot-outs" or "gun-battles".
“Suggestions that these deaths in custody are just unrelated random incidents, as opposed to targeted executions, are simply not credible," said Abbas Faiz, Amnesty International’s Bangladesh researcher. "The chances of this same fate befalling so many apprehended individuals defies belief and contradicts eye-witness testimony. These deaths amount to extrajudicial executions.”
“The deaths must stop now, and the responsible personnel must be brought to justice without delay,” Faiz said.
Comments and announcements from Bangladeshi government authorities over recent days have demonstrated a hostile defiance in response to national and international calls to address the claims.
The Bangladeshi Home Minister, Shahara Khatun, yesterday denied that extra-judicial executions have ever taken place in Bangladesh during the time of the present government and today went on to accuse human rights organizations of "siding with the criminals"
Recently Wikileaks sources alleged that UK police have been training the RAB in Bangladesh.
“Any country that knowingly trains a force, which systematically violates human rights, might itself bear some responsibility for those violations," Faiz said.
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.
For more information, please visit: www.amnestyusa.org.