Human Rights Watch has urged the state authorities to protect the rights of Holey Artisan Bakery hostages Hasnat Karim and Tahmid Khan, who were held by Detective Branch of Police for questioning.
It also called on the government to admit their detentions and to make clear the whereabouts.
Though all hostages were released on July 3, Hasnat, 47, and Karim, 22, were neither charged nor released. Their families have had little or no official information about their safety and whereabouts.
The HRW made the call in a statement showed in its website on July 15.
“The attack on the café was a horrific event, and the authorities should conduct thorough investigations by questioning those held hostage – but they must do so in a rights-respecting manner.
“Karim and Khan have not had access to a lawyer, and the police continue to deny holding them although they are clearly still being held by the Detective Branch. The authorities need to either charge or release them immediately,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch.
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Human Rights Watch noted that Bangladeshi security forces have an extensive and well-documented history of custodial abuse, including torture. Given this history, there is a real risk of harm during detention and interrogation.
Karim is a UK national and Khan is a resident of Canada. Human Rights Watch called upon both the UK and Canadian authorities to press for consular access to ensure the safety and well-being of the detainees.
“The authorities holding Karim and Khan are bound by Bangladeshi law and international law to ensure that both men are accorded their full due process rights, including the right to a lawyer and the right to be produced before a magistrate, both of which are key in ensuring their physical well-being and freedom from custodial abuse,” said Adams.
Adams continued that: “The length of time the two men have been held incommunicado is a direct violation of their basic rights.”
On July 1, some armed gunmen attacked the café killing more than 20 people and holding others inside hostage. In the next morning, security forces stormed the café killing several of the gunmen, and securing the safety of the remaining 13 hostages.
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