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Human Rights Watch: Concerned for Bangladesh Critic's Safety

  • VOA News

An international human rights organization has called on Bangladesh to immediately release prominent rights activist Adilur Rahman Khan.
On Monday, Human Rights Watch said Khan, the director of Odhikar - one of Bangladesh's leading human rights organization - was arrested August 10 without a warrant.
Brad Adams, HRW Asia director, said Khan's arrest is "an attempt to silence one of the Bangladeshi government's most vocal critics prior to national elections."
HRW called on Bangladesh to "have the courage to debate" Khan in public instead of throwing him in jail.
There has been no immediate response by the government to the HRW statement.
Odhikar said Khan was arrested for allegedly "falsely reporting" information about human rights abuses by government security forces during mass demonstrations by the Islamist Hefazat-e-Islami movement in Dhaka in May.
HRW, in a report about the same demonstration, said police "used unlawful force, leaving at least 50 dead and more than 2,000 injured."
HRW said the Bangladeshi activist may be in danger of torture while he is detained. HRW and Odhikar have documented extensive use of torture by the Bangladeshi security forces.
Human Rights Watch said it is not aware of any attempts by the government to hold members of its security forces accountable for torture, "despite repeated commitments to do so, including to the United Nations Human Rights Council."
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