Photo: Md. Tawfik
[Sushanta Das Gupta, UK]
I just came through an email alert that was sent as a comment in one of our posts. While I was moderating it I thought it might be posted as a separate thread. It speaks about the illegal detention of Md. Tawfiq by DGFI for nearly four days. Md. Tawfiq was called in 4th of March around 10 PM and kept behind all of the sights until 7th of March. Few people might call one of our reports which stated the final list of 80 people as part of the drive against high-profile corruption suspects declared by the national coordination committee on corruption and serious crimes (NCC). We found the name of Md. Towfik in the published lists in other categories. But the issue discussed here is not the corruption, it is the issue whether a citizen of Bangladesh can be detained illegally for four days or not.
Md. Tawfiq, a director of Bangladesh telegraph and Telephone Board, was called by DGFI on 4th of March ,Tuesday around 10 PM to see them in their Dhaka cantonment headquarters. As a law abiding citizen, he went there and for the next 4 days, there was no information on him from the DGFI as I was informed by an authenticated source. Not even his wife or family was informed of his location or condition which is a blatant violation of Bangladesh Constitution.
On the 7th March, he was produced before the chief metropolitan magistrate by Ramna police station. He was shown arrest under Article 54 (suspicious activity) and was said that he was arrested from his residence on the same day. That is to say that his illegal detention by DGFI for nearly four days where he was tortured severely was kept secret from the court.
His wife, in a press release yesterday, mentioned that she saw signs of torture in the uncovered areas of his body when she saw him in the court and asked the President and the chief advisor of the caretaker government of Bangladesh to save the life of her husband.
A fabricated false report was published in some Bangladesh newspapers on the 8th March alleging that Tawfiq was involved in illegal VOIP business in Bangladesh. The report is full of inconsistencies, doesn’t hold any truth, and the allegations falls apart even at the tiniest scrutiny.
It appears that Md. Tawfiq is the victim of some vested interest group in BTTB and Caretaker Government who took the advantage of current lawless situation in Bangladesh to realize some big plan in the telecom sector of Bangladesh.
The eye raising questions are:
1. If he was arrested by Ramna police on Thursday and was produced before the court next day, when did the joint forces interrogate him to find all the information that was published against him?
2. If the allegations published by the joint forces were true, why he wasn’t charged by any one of them?
3. Why he was picked up by DGFI and tortured without any judicial procedure?
4. Why the police shown him arrest four days after he was detained by DGFI on no apparent allegation against him (Article 54 is just suspicious activity and is bailable).
5. Who is responsible for his illegal custody and torture by DGFI?
It appears that Bangladesh has become a country of torture under the present caretaker government where no law and human right exists as mentioned in the chilling testimony of Human Rights Watch Journalist Tasneem Khalil who was kidnapped and tortured by the DGFI people in the same way as Tawfiq. The people in power, mainly, the DGFI are working with impunity like the Gestapo to pick up anyone at their will, torture, and then fabricated anything against them without any judicial processes involved.
Brad Adams, Asia Director of Human Rights Watch, in his letter to Chief Advisor Fakhruddin Ahmed urged that Bangladesh has obligation under international law to stop torture and to make the protection of human rights as much of a priority as its fight against corruption. Adams emphasized that the caretaker government should discipline or prosecute, as appropriate, members of the security forces, including the DGFI, the army and paramilitary forces such as the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), police and other government officials, regardless of rank, who have been responsible for arbitrary arrests and torture or other mistreatment of persons in detention.
It’s an unrest request to all concerned Bangladeshi citizen to put forward this news and pressure the caretaker government to save the life of Tawfiq and thousands of other innocent people who dont have any one to stand for them.
Sushanta Das Gupta is the Editor, E-Bangladesh.