Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Disappearances in last two years - the men still missing

Updated: January 22, 2018

Disappearing people has now become a well known practice undertaken by Bangladesh law enforcement agencies - a systematic technique by which a person is secretly detained for varying periods of time totally outside the law, their whereabouts unknown with the state denying any knowledge of the person.

After spending a period of time in secret detention - usually weeks or months - there are four possible outcomes:
  • the person is killed. In 2016, out of over 90 disappeared, 21 were killed; In 2017, out of about 80 disappeared, 7 so far have been killed
  • the person is simply released on the streets. This happens, but it unusual
  • the person is taken to the court and 'formally arrested' with the police concocting a story that they were arrested the previous day. They are then, "legally", sent to jail. This is what happens to most people.
  • the person remains disappeared. In 2016, out of over 90 disappeared, 8 remain missing; In 2017, out of about 80 disappeared, 17 remain missing
The people picked up and secretly detained fall into a number of categories of people. There are:

- those that are linked to opposition politics, sometimes at a senior level;

- those the authorities suspect, rightly or wrongly, are involved in militancy in some way;

- those who for one political reason or the other, it is useful for the state to secretly detain;

- those involved in conflict within the Awami League;

- those involved in other kinds of private conflicts where one of the parties to the conflict has the power to obtain the use of a law enforcement agency to do his bidding;

The pick ups are primarily undertaken by the Detective Branch of the Police, the Counter Terrorism Unit (which has emerged out of the DB), or by the para-military organisation, the Rapid Action Battalion - though RAB's involvement seems to be declining in recent years. The ordinary police are also involved, as are sometimes the country's intelligence agencies in particular the country's military intelligence agency, DGFI.

The government has, it seems, informally given law enforcement authorities a general green light to carry out secret detentions in certain circumstances. There are however a few undertaken at a low level which are outside of any authorisation, and many others (particularly those involving more high profile subjects) done with specific high level governmental authorisation.

To read more about disappearances in Bangladesh, see the recent Human Rights Watch report

Picked up in last two years, continued to be disappeared
Below are the details of 34 people** allegedly picked up by Bangladesh law enforcement authorities since 2016 who remain disappeared - that is to say they have not yet been released, "formally arrested", or their dead body has not been found.

In effect, what this means is that Bangladesh state authorities are either secretly detaining or have killed them.

The information below is based on media news reports, and information from the human rights organisation Odhikar and in some cases direct interviews with families. It is very likely that are more people who are disappeared - but whose cases have not been reported.

Please note that it is not uncommon for men, who have been picked up to subsequently be shown arrested after some time, so this is an ever-changing situation. If you have any further information on these or other enforced disappearances in Bangladesh, please e-mail Bangladesh Politico


Maroof Zaman
Picked up on 4 December 2017

Maroof Zaman, a former Bangladeshi ambassador to Qatar and Vietnam, went missing on 4 December 2017 when he drove to Dhaka airport to pick up his daughter. Subsequently, masked men entered the family house and took away his computer.

Robiul Islam
Picked up on October 25, 2017

Two men, identifying themselves as members of RAB, picked up Robiul Islam, a one-time drug dealer who now worked for a NGO "Robir Alo", as they wanted him to provide information.

Sohel Khan
Picked up on July 17, 2017 
Sohel Khan, the General Secretary of youth wing of Awami League of Chingrakhali union in Bagherat was picked up by RAB on July 17, 2017

Abdullah Al Faruq
Picked up on July 18, 2017

Abdullah Al Faruq, a student activist of the Awami League was picked up in Rajshai on July 18 by men who identified themselves as from the Rapid Action Battalion.

Mohammad Siddiqur Rahman Nahid
Picked up on June 9, 2017
Mohammad Siddiqur Rahman Nahid, Assistant General Secretary of Narsingdi Government College unit of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party was picked up on 9 June by about 10 men identifying themselves as law enforcement officers

Rizwan Haroon
Picked up on May 10, 2017

Lakehead Grammar School co-founder Rizwan Haroon was picked up by law enforcement officials from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport on May 10 upon his arrival from the United Kingdom in an Emirates Airways flight, according to news reports.

Emon Hossain
Picked up between May 4 and 6, 2017
Emon Hossain, was one of seven men picked up between May 4 and 6, 2017 from two Villages in Jhenaidah district apparently by law enforcement authorities, and whilst the others were 'arrested' in subsequent months, he remains disappeared.

Abdul Kuddus Pramanik
Picked up on 30 March 2017
Md. Abdul Kuddus Pramanik, a farmer, was picked up in Rajshai on 30 Mar 2017 by a group of men who introduced themselves as law enforcement officers.
Prothom Alo 1 April, 2017 

Shafikur Rahman, Md Hasan, and Moazzam Hossain Sathi
Picked up on 24 March 2017
SM Shafikur Rahman, 35, involved with a transportation business, and his brothers-in-law Md Hasan, 21, and Moazzem Hossain Sathi, 18 were picked up in Chittagong on March 24, 2017  by men who introduced themselves as law enforcement officers.

Imrul Hossain, Ibrahim Gazi, Rezaul Islam, Alam Khan
Picked up in late March 2017

Men, claiming to be police officers, picked up six men from different villages in the Sadar and Kotchandpur upazilas of Jhenaidah district over a two week period. One was later freed, and another shown arrested, with the whereabouts of four men remaining unknown.
Shafiqul Islam Modhu
Picked up on 13 January 2017
Shafiqul Islam Modhu, an employee of Rangpur Karuponno Garment Company, was picked up in Rangpur on January 13, 2017 by law enforcement officers from the house of his father in law in front of his family.
Reported in Daily Manabzamin, on 8 February 2017

Hassan Ali
Picked up on 7 January 2017
Hassan Ali, who worked as a salesman for a clothes shops, was picked up in Dhaka on 7 Jan 2017 by plain clothes dressed men, one of whom was identified in CCTV footage as being from the Detective Branch of Police

Abdullahil Amaan Azmi
Picked up on 22 August, 2016
According to his family, Azmi was picked up on 22 August from his family house in Mogh Bazaar in Dhaka. Azmi is the son of Ghulam Azam, a Jamaat-e-Islami leader, who died in jail in 2014 after an earlier conviction for crimes against humanity during the country's 1971 independence war. Azmi was dismissed from the army in May 2009, five months after the Awami League government came to power.

Mir Ahmed Bin Quasem
Picked up on 9 August, 2016
According to his family, Quasem was picked up late at night on 9 August from his home in Mirpur in Dhaka. Ahmed is the son of Mir Quasem Ali, a Jamaat-e-Islami leader, who was executed on September 4 (whilst his son remained disappeared) following conviction for crimes committed during the country's independence war,

Yasin Mohammad Abdus Samad Talukdar
Family claim picked up on 14 July, 2016
According to his family, Yasin Mohammad Abdus Samad Talukdar, who has no political affiliation, was picked up on 14 July from the DOHS Benani railway crossing in Dhaka by law enforcement authorities, whom local people thought were from Rapid Action Batallion.

Kamrul Islam Sikdar Musa
Family claim picked up on 22 June, 2016
His wife claims that on 22 June, a group of plainclothes policemen went to the house of a friend in the Kathgar area of Chittagong where she and her family were then staying and arrested her husband, a sand trader who also sells bricks, close to the house. The police say that they are still trying to arrest Musa who is suspected of involvement in the killing of the wife of a senior police officer.

Bivas Sangma (25)
Family claim that picked up on 14 April, 2016
Bivas was a second year graduate student at Tinani Adarsha Degree College in Jhinaigati. His family members claim that sometime after 4:00 am on April 14, men who said that they were law enforcement officials, with some of them wearing RAB uniforms, came to their house and took Sangma away. He is related to Probhat Marak and Rajesh Marak who were picked up on the same day (see below)

Rajesh Marak (22)
Family claim that picked up on 14 April, 2016
The family of Rajesh, a student at a private university in Dhaka, says that her brother was picked up, by men claiming to be members of law enforcement agency, from his elder sister’s house located near Bhaluka College in Mymensingh.

Probhat Marak (60),
Family claim that picked up on 14 April, 2016
Family members claim that Probhat, a day labourer, was picked up in by law enforcement officers from his home in Gajni village in Sherpur. He is related to  Bivas Sangma and Rajesh Marak who were also picked up on the same day (see above)

Sheikh Mohammad Moyajjem Hossain Tapu (28)
Family claim picked up on 26 January, 2016
Tape was president of 22 Ward of student wing of the governing party the Awami League in Rampura in Dhaka and General Secretary of the student wing of Awami League of Rampura Police Station unit. His family claim that on January 26 at around 11.00 pm, men who identified themselves as DB police picked Tapu up from a flat in Bashundhara residential area, Dhaka.

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