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Bangladesh: Urgent action required to trace former diplomat Maroof Zaman

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(Bangkok/Kathmandu, 8 December, 2017): The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) is deeply concerned over the disappearance of Muhammed Maroof Zaman, a former Bangladeshi diplomat, who has been missing since 4 December.

According to information received by FORUM-ASIA from its members, Zaman was on his way to the Dhaka International Airport on the evening of 4 December to pick his daughter. At around 7:45 pm, he reportedly made a phone call home from an unidentified number and informed house helpers that some people would come to take his computer, and instructed them to cooperate. CCTV footage shows that shortly after the phone call, three men came to his house at around 8:05pm. They took his laptop, home computer’s CPU, camera, and a smart-phone after thoroughly searching his room.

Zaman’s daughter, Samiha Zaman called his number several times and found it switched off. Later she arrived home on her own and informed the family members of what happened. Family members have not been able to get in touch with him since then.

A General Diary (GD) case was filed by his daughter on 5 December at around 2:30 pm with the Dhanmondi Police Station[1]. Later in the evening, police officers managed to recover his car from Khilkhet. The car was found abandoned near the road, with its doors unlocked, but the steering wheel still locked. Some locals, on being asked, shared that the car had been parked there since morning. Police also retrieved the CCTV footage of the three men entering his building and then leaving shortly after with the computer and other devices.

No progress has been made so far to trace his whereabouts.

Enforced and involuntary disappearance remains a crucial human rights violation in Bangladesh. According to information gathered by Odhikar, one of the FORUM-ASIA members in Bangladesh, at least 408[2] individuals were allegedly subjected to enforced disappearance[3] from January 2009 to November 2017.

FORUM-ASIA urges the Government of Bangladesh to undertake urgent measures to ensure the safe release of Zaman. It also urges the National Human Rights Commission to take sou motu action of the case and issue urgent directives.


For a PDF version of this statement, click here.


[1](Diary no. 213, date: 05/12/2017)
[2]Among them, 52 were found dead, 200 were released after being left blindfolded at a particular location or shown as arrested or produced before a court after several days or months following their disappearance. The fate or whereabouts of 156 persons remained unknown.
[3]Odhikar only documented the enforced disappearance cases where the families of the disappeared claim that members of law enforcement agencies allegedly picked up the victims.