An insurance company employee given a 6 month prison sentence by a mobile court and allegedly tortured in Gulshan Police Station custody upon an accusation of setting fire to a car in the evening of July 05 before the Hartal of July 06 and 07

On July 05, 2011, senior assistant officer Khandaker Ashaduzzaman (32) of Reliance Insurance Limited and his colleague (who wishes to remain unnamed) spent the entire day at the office. At 7:59 pm (check-out time as entered on the office online register) the two colleagues headed out from the Mohakhali office in Dhaka to go home.

Since the Bangladesh National Party (BNP) had called a 48 hour hartal on July 06 and 07, the roads were crowded the day before- July 05, 2011. Both of them walked to the front of the CMB warehouse of the Mohakhali kitchen-market. Some distance away from them, someone or some people set a private car on fire at approximately 8:10 pm. The police officers who rushed there falsely accused Ashaduzzaman of setting fire to the private car and arrested him.  Ashaduzzaman and his colleague indentified themselves and showed the police their office IDs but the police paid no attention to them.

The police then took Ashaduzzaman to Magistrate Dr. Rahima Khatun of the mobile court assigned for the hartal that had been called. The Magistrate sentenced Ashaduzzaman to 6 months of rigorous imprisonment and ordered him to be
immediately taken to jail. However, on July 06, 2011 till 2:00 pm the police contrary to instructions, kept him at the station lockup, tortured him and filed a case against him. Ashaduzzaman alleged that the police of the Gulshan Police Station tortured him to give confessional statement with regard to setting the private car on fire before the hartal.

Odhikar’s Statement

It is apparent from the fact-finding mission that Ashaduzzaman was sentenced to 6 months of rigorous imprisonment by the mobile court despite not being involved with the arson of the private car. Ashaduzzaman’s office online records show that he left the office at exactly 7:59 pm. It is impractical to suggest that Ashaduzzaman could have left the office, arrived at the scene of the incident, joined the procession and carried out the arson on the car within 10 minutes. Also, the eye-witnesses have all stated that they saw no procession at the time of the incident. The FIR states that SI Harunur Rashid had been injured by the blows received from a stick that Ashaduzzaman was carrying in his hands; not only was such a weapon absent, but he was instead carrying a stack of invitation cards which he intended to distribute among his relatives, for his wedding reception on July 22, 2011.

It is evident from the fact-finding mission that in the absence of the right to defend oneself, general people are subject to worrying infringements of human rights.

Odhikar expresses its condemnation of the arrest of Ashaduzzaman on false accusations, his victimisation through the mobile court and the subsequent torture inflicted upon him at the police station for extraction of confessional statement. Odhikar calls for the investigation of the torture committed on Ashaduzzaman at the Gulshan police station.

fact-finding-torture-Khandaker Ashaduzzaman-2011 (full text in English, PDF)

fact-finding-torture-Khandaker Ashaduzzaman-2011 (full text in Bangla, PDF)

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