The ICJ expressed its disappointment over the continued arbitrary detention and refusal of bail of Secretary of human rights organization, Odhikar, and Supreme Court Advocate Adilur Rahman Khan.
The ICJ urged the Bangladeshi authorities to drop their opposition to Adilur Rahman Khan’s bail application.
On 9 September 2013, a Magistrates Court in Dhaka refused Adilur Rahman Khan’s bail application for the second time. He had earlier been denied bail on 11 August 2013.
“Adilur Rahman Khan is being arbitrarily detained for his lawful exercise of the right to freedom of expression and his legitimate work as a human rights defender,” said Ben Schonveld, ICJ’s South Asia Director. “What we are seeing is a Government crackdown on voices of dissent.”
Under international law, all persons are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Under Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Bangladesh is a party, there is a presumption of pre-trial release.
A person can only be denied pre-trial release where it is reasonable and necessary in all of the circumstances to prevent absconding, interference with evidence or recidivism.
“The Government cannot show that Adilur Rahman Khan poses a flight risk,” Schonveld added. “In fact, he faces a serious threat of torture and ill-treatment during detention, as documented by Odhikar and other human rights organizations.”
The ICJ reiterates its call on Bangladesh to immediately and unconditionally drop all charges against Adilur Rahman Khan and Nasiruddin Elan, ensure Adilur Rahman Khan is treated in accordance with international law in custody, and cease its harassment of Odhikar.
Ben Schonveld, ICJ South Asia Director (Kathmandu), t: +977 14432651; email: ben.schonveld(a)icj.org
Adilur Rahman Khan was arrested his home on 10 August 2013 without an arrest warrant.
On August 11, a Magistrate’s Court refused his bail application and remanded him for five days of custodial interrogation.
On August 12, the High Court Division of the Supreme Court stayed the remand order and directed that Adilur Rahman be sent back to jail, where he could be interrogated ‘at the gate of the jail.’
On 4 September 2013, the Detective Branch of Police filed a charge sheet against Adilur Rahman Khan and Odhikar’s Director, Nasiruddin Elan, under Section 57 of the International Communication and Technology Act 2006.
They were accused of distorting information, presenting false evidence and manipulating photographs regarding a police operation on a Hefazat-e Islam rally in May this year.
Odhikar had reported that 61 people were killed in the police crackdown on the rally. The government contested the number of casualties.
Adilur Rahman Khan and Nasiruddin Elan will be formally charged on 12 September 2013.
LATEST UPDATE: Letter to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed on the Continued Detention of Adilur Rahman Khan
Bangladesh- Letter Adilur Rahman Khan-Advocacy-Open letter-2013 (full text in pdf)