Journalist Abducted in Bangladesh updated
Mash, we get a disturbing tale. As he's been writing about lately, there
is a purge
of the political class going on in Bangladesh. It's criminality and torture
under the guise of government's elite security force. This latest news is frightening.
In the dead of the night an editor of Bangladesh's The Daily Star was rounded
up and taken away by an army intelligence unit. Here's the latest via CNN.
Tasneem Khalil, who also works part-time for Human Rights Watch and as a
stringer for several news organizations, including CNN, writes for the Dhaka-based
Khalil's wife telephoned CNN to say that men from an army intelligence unit
arrested him early Friday.
In a statement, Khalil's wife said he was arrested by four men in plainclothes
who said they were from “the joint task force.” They refused to
tell Khalil on what charges he was being arrested and cautioned him to be
quiet “if you don't want anything else to happen,” she said.
She said the men searched the house, taking Khalil's passport and cell phones,
two desktop computers and “all the documents, notepads, piles of paper,
CDs and everything. They took it all away.”
The men allegedly took Khalil to the Sangsad Bhavan army camp, outside the
parliament building in Dhaka.
Human Rights Watch is working desperately to get Khalil freed.
“We are extremely concerned about Tasneem Khalil’s
safety. He has been a prominent voice in Bangladesh for human rights and the
rule of law, and has been threatened because of that.”
– Brad Adams, Asia director at Human
Khalil has been involved in reporting on RAB for Human Rights Watch. It's likely
that's what got him into trouble.
The Rapid Action Battalion, commonly known as RAB, is Bangladesh’s
elite anti-crime and anti-terrorism force. Since its creation in March 2004
this special unit has been implicated in the unlawful killings of at least
350 people in custody, and the alleged torture of hundreds more.
Many of the deaths for which RAB is responsible resulted from summary executions.
Others came after extreme physical abuse. RAB’s torture methods include
beatings with batons on the soles of the feet and other parts of the body,
boring holes with electric drills, and applying electric shock.
The government in power until October 27, 2006, defended the killings by
saying the victimsÃ¢â‚¬”people it called “wanted criminals” or
“top terrors”Ã¢â‚¬”died when they resisted arrest or when they
were caught in the crossfire during an armed clash between RAB and a criminal
group (“crossfire” killings). But witnesses, family members, and
journalists frequently reported that the victims died in RAB custody, either
in the station or outside where an extrajudicial execution took place. The
cases documented in this report support those claims. … ..
Mash has put together an
action alert. I know it's been a tough week writing in to Congress, but
any help would be appreciated. Anything you can to to spread the word is so important.
There is little doubt that Khalil's life is in danger. Torture by RAB is not
in doubt. Time is of the essence.
Update: Tasneem Khalil has been released.