HRW asks Bangladesh to halt mutiny trial
“The Bangladeshi authorities should immediately halt mass trials of proceedings,” said a HRW report released on Wednesday.
“Instead, Bangladeshi authorities should establish an independent investigative and prosecutorial task force with sufficient expertise, authority, and resources to rigorously investigate and, where appropriate, prosecute all allegations of unlawful deaths, torture, and mistreatment of suspects in the mutiny, regardless of the rank or institutional affiliation of the person responsible for the abuse,” the report said.
The report also said the suspects in the 2009 mutiny by the Bangladesh Rifles border guards have been subjected to widespread abuse, torture, and deaths in custody. The mass trials of nearly 6,000 suspects raise serious fair trial concerns.
The 57-page report, “‘The Fear Never Leaves Me’: Torture, Custodial Deaths, and Unfair Trials After the 2009 Mutiny of the Bangladesh Rifles,” provides a detailed account of the mutiny and documents serious abuses in the aftermath, including torture by security forces of people in custody on suspicion of planning the mutiny, and of ongoing concerns about fair trial violations in mass trials of hundreds of suspects at a time. The Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) has allegedly been involved in many of the abuses.
“Those responsible for the horrific violence that left 74 dead should be brought to justice, but not with torture and unfair trials,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch.
“The government’s initial response to the mutiny was proportionate and saved lives by refusing army demands to use overwhelming force in a heavily populated area. But since then it has essentially given a green light to the security forces to exact revenge through physical abuse and mass trials.”—Star