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BANGLADESH – No crossfire? Odhikar presents cases of extrajudicial killing

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FORUM-ASIA member in Bangladesh, issued its "Half-Year Report" on 2
July 2009, focusing on human rights issues of the country. The
organisation expressed its concerns over continuing extrajudicial
killing and its justification by the government.

"There is no
such thing called crossfire in this country", said the State Minister
for Home Affairs in June. On the other hand, 28 individuals have been
killed since the establishment of the new government. Odhikar has
completed fact finding missions into six of the incidents, revealing
that all six were extrajudicial killing cases.

concern raised in the report is the Pilkhana massacre and the
continuing use of torture. According to the report, some suspects of
the Pilkhana killings have been subject to torture by security forces
extorting confessions from them. According to the report in the period
of 1 January to 30 June 2009, 23 individuals were allegedly tortured by
members of the security forces including the Rapid Action Battalion
(RAB), Bangladesh Rifles (BDR), the police and its detective branch.
Bangladesh ratified the United Nations Convention Against Torture and
Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) in 1998
and the constitution upholds similar standards denouncing the use of
torture, nevertheless such atrocities are still practiced. Custodial
torture has also led to the death of 25 BDR members during the

Odhikar demands that such atrocious acts cease, since forced
confessions only pervert justice. The organisation called on the
government to conduct an "independent and fair investigation" on the
death of detained BDR members".

The report further focuses on the issues of the
right to freedom of speech and expression, harassment and land
grabbing of ethnic minorities, and violence against women.