‘Torturing people in custody under the pretext of retrieving information must be stopped’
Members of the civil society have denounced the police crackdown on peaceful demonstrations protesting the death of writer Mushtaq Ahmed in jail.
It is to be noted that Mushtaq Ahmed had remained behind bars since May last year following his arrest in a case filed under the Digital Security Act.
A statement, issued in this regard on Sunday, was signed by 51 prominent civil society members including Prof Anu Muhammad of Jahangirnagar University, Manusher Jonno Foundation Executive Director Shaheen Anam, Supreme Court lawyer Syeda Rizwana Hasan, researcher and activist Maha Mirza, Prof Shapan Adnan of London University, Prof Asif Nazrul of Dhaka University and Zafrullah Chowdhury of Gonoshasthaya Kendra.
Terming Mushtaq’s death a “state killing,” they said police had attacked the protesters who were peacefully demonstrating against the custodial death on Friday, injuring at least 30 people. They had also arrested seven students.
“Meanwhile, a team comprising 30-40 members of the Khulna DB Police picked up Sramik-Krishak-Chhatra-Janata Oikya Parishad Convener Ruhul Amin from his home after he had announced a peaceful program in solidarity with the protests,” the statement read.
A case was filed against Ruhul Amin under the Digital Security Act on Saturday and a two-day remand was granted by the Khulna Metropolitan Magistrate's Court to quiz him.
Condemning the acts, the civil society members demanded that the seven arrested students and Ruhul Amin be freed.
They called for the punishment of the people who attacked the protesters, based on the “Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials” formulated by the United Nations.
“Torturing people arrested under the Digital Security Act in custody under the pretext of retrieving information must be stopped,” they said, before adding that the act should be repealed.
The civil society members also called for an immediate bail for cartoonist Ahmed Kabir Kishore so that he could receive treatment. “We demand punishment for the people who allegedly tortured him in custody, under the Torture and Custodial Death (Prevention) Act, 2013.”
Lastly, they demanded a judicial investigation into the death of Mushtaq Ahmed and the official release of the probe report to the public.