Monday, December 14, 2015

Six points about UK govt report on Bangladesh elections

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On Sunday, Al Jazeera published an article on the report commissioned by UK's Department for International Development concerning the integrity of the 2014 national and local elections in Bangladesh and the role of the Election Commission.

DfID had tried hard to keep the report secret, claiming at one point that it's disclosure would "cause significant offence to the Government of Bangladesh" and make it difficult to continue its programming operations in the country. However, on request from the independent Information Commissioner's office, DfID finally released the report.

The report is a must read for anyone interested in Bangladesh elections and the role of the election commission, and the full report can be downloaded here

There are a number of points to be made about the report.

  1. This report was an important factor in the US Aid, UK Aid, the European Union and UNDP stopping funding of their five years $14 million support to the Election Commission, and also meant that for the first time in years, there is no donor aided support to the Election Commission.
  2. The report was written by an independent expert providing an objective assessment of the Election Commission. She cannot be accused of having any particular axe to grind in relation to Bangladesh.
  3. It sets out clearly the international law obligations on Bangladesh in relation to holding free and fair elections, and what is required for elections to be deemed free and fair.
  4. It specifically states in relation to the January 2014 national election that since they "were not based on broad participation," the "international law commitments related to a genuine process … are very subject to question."
  5. In relation to the subsequent upazilla elections, the report sets out in detail the concerns about the neutrality and effectiveness of the Election Commission - which is the crucial institution necessary for holding free and fair elections in Bangladesh. 
  6. Unless significant reforms are made to the election commission, which do not look like they are coming, it will be difficult for the Bangladesh government to claim with much credibility that future elections organized under the commission are legitimate - though no doubt they will try to do so."
As to DfID, although the UK government department did its best to block disclosure of the report, one needs to give it credit for its general system of transparency.

DfID does makes public on its Development Tracker website far more information on its projects in Bangladesh (and in other countries) than any other donor organization - and if it was not for DfID's 'annual review' of it election-related projects (available on that website) where a short section from the consultant's report was extracted, one would not even have known that a consultant had been commissioned to write this report.

And in the end of course, though clearly under pressure from the Information Commissioners Office, DfID did disclose the report.

Process of obtaining the report
Dfid had done its very best not to disclose the full report.

I first came across mention of it in an annual review of DfID's funding of election related work including a UNDP-managed project supporting the work of the election commission, which was available on DfID's very useful Development Tracker website.

This annual review mentioned that a report had been written on the election commission and quoted three sentences from it. This resulted in this article at New Age.

In May, I made a request for a copy of this document under UK's Freedom of Information Act 2000. After many time extensions, on 30 July DfID sent a letter refusing a copy of the document. The letter stated:

"DFID holds a copy of this report which we are withholding under the exemptions at Section 27 (1) (a) (b) (c) and (d) (International relations) and 40 (2) (Personal information) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. ....

"Section 27 (1) (a) (b) (c) and (d) provides that information is exempt if its disclosure would or would be likely to prejudice the relations between the United Kingdom and any other state or international organisation, or the interests of the UK abroad, or the promotion or protection by the United Kingdom of its interests abroad.
In applying this exemption we have had to balance the public interest in withholding the information against the public interest in disclosing it.
Factors in favour of disclosure include the strong public interest in transparency and accountability.  There is also a clear public interest in raising awareness and understanding of how the UK government works at a country level and in how we aim to engage with partner governments and international organisations in seeking to reduce poverty.
Factors against disclosure include the strong public interest in ensuring that DFID and the UK Government are able to promote international development and protect UK interests abroad.  To do this there must be good working relationships with other governments and international partners based on confidence and trust.  Disclosing sensitive information relating to the Election Commission Bangladesh would be likely to damage the UK’s relationship with the Government of Bangladesh, harm the ability of DFID to work with and influence other donors in eradicating poverty and undermine the UK’s ability to respond to international development needs.  Releasing the information requested could also damage the UK’s ability to deliver government policy and to protect and promote UK interests.  This would not be in the public interest.
We have concluded that the balance of public interest in this case favours withholding the information."
I then appealed this decision and on 1 September obtained this response:

"Thank you for your e-mail dated 2 August 2015 in which you asked for an internal review of the decision to withhold a report commissioned by DFID in March 2014 following elections in Bangladesh.  I have carried out this review and am now writing with the outcome. 
 DFID’s response, dated 31 July 2015, withheld the report primarily under section 27 (1) (a) (b) (c) and (d) (International relations) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.  It set out the public interest arguments for and against disclosure in relation to this qualified exemption.
 I have now reviewed the withheld information and reconsidered our application of the exemption and public interest arguments for and against disclosure.  I am satisfied that the exemption was correctly identified and that the balance of public interest favoured withholding the information you sought. I am therefore upholding the decision. I have set out some additional points below which I hope you will find useful.
 DFID accepts there is a clear public interest in disclosure, including the points you make in your e-mail regarding DFID’s public comments on this issue, the use of taxpayers’ money and the decision not to continue to provide support to the Election Commission.  To help meet this public interest, DFID has, as you know, published summary information of the report’s findings, including critical analysis of the elections and the Election Commission, in the Annual Review of the Strengthening Political Participation project.
 However, disclosing the more detailed information contained in the full report would be likely to cause significant offence to the Government of Bangladesh.  This could harm the trust between DFID (and the UK Government more widely) and the Bangladesh Government and so reduce the likelihood of open and effective dialogue in future.  Such dialogue is absolutely essential to ensuring effective programming and to enable both governments to respond to the development issues faced in Bangladesh. Disclosure in such circumstances would not be in the public interest.
 I consider that it would not be appropriate to release the full report simply because summary information – albeit frank and critical - has been published.  The language used in our public communications is carefully chosen so as to make points clearly but not in a way that would cause offence or undermine international relations with the Government of Bangladesh.  In my view, DFID’s decision to publish some relevant information on this sensitive issue has helped to achieve the right balance between competing public interest demands while at the same time maintaining the integrity and effectiveness of international relations. "

I then appealed to the Information Commissioners Office, which is an independent body. On 30 November, I then got a letter from DfID.
"At the request of the Information Commissioner’s Office, DFID has reviewed the information which we withheld from disclosure in our response to your Freedom of Information request reference F2013-154.

I am now writing to inform you that we have concluded that the information should be released. I, therefore, attach a copy of the report “DFID Election Programming Assessment” dated March 2014. Please note that this is an independent expert report commissioned by DFID Bangladesh to review support to the Election Commission and make recommendations. The views in the report are the expert’s own views and do not represent UK government policy.

While the assessment was primarily for internal use, DFID has, in the spirit of transparency, proactively published significant information in relation to the issues raised in the report, including key extracts from it. In light of this, and information which is otherwise in the public domain on this issue, we now consider that the public interest in this case favours release of the report. I would, however, explain that, as required, DFID deals with FOI requests on a case by case basis. As such the decision to disclose this report should not be taken as a precedent for releasing reports relating to other governments and overseas partners more generally."

Monday, November 30, 2015

Why does the Bangladesh government continue to ban Facebook?


To what extent does the Bangladesh government's continued suspension of Facebook have anything to do with containing violence or stopping those intent on committing terrorist acts from communicating with each other?

Probably not very much, if at all.

One should perhaps give the government the benefit of the doubt that its original decision to restrict Facebook immediately after the appellate division on 18 November finally confirmed the execution of Salauddin Quader Chowdhury and Mujahid, each of whom were leading members of opposition political parties, may well have been security related.

Whilst, the alleged risk of widespread and planned violence perpetrated by supporters of these two men was undoubtedly overblown by the media (much of which has been reporting dubious claims of alleged plots told to them by often unnamed detective branch officers) there has in the past been violence following decisions relating to the International Crimes Tribunal.

This was particularly the case  following the sentencing of Sayedee to the death, where protests resulted in dozens of deaths (though many/most reportedly at the hands of law enforcement agencies themselves in response to the unrest.)

Moreover, the unrest was reportedly in part incited by the distribution on Facebook of photoshopped pictures of the moon with images of Sayedee's face on them - an indication of his supposed innocence.

So the governments decision to immediately restrict the use of Facebook, as well as its messaging service which the country's intelligence agencies reportedly do not have the capacity to access, may well have been reasonable.

However, any risk of violence that there was would have quickly subsided a few days after the executions.

Eleven days later there seems to be no continued security justification.

The militants or violence instigators who supposedly were using the Facebook messaging service to communicate with each other, would very quickly have moved to other forms of encrypted communication which are very widely available, or would otherwise have set up widely available work-arounds.

Indeed, the Facebook ban did not stop the recent attack on the Shia mosque, again claimed by Islamic State, which caused the death of one person.

So what purpose might the continued Facebook ban have? It appears to be useful for the government in two ways.

Linking the security threat to the opposition parties
First the ban helps to bolster the government's claim that recent violent attacks in Bangladesh are the responsibility of the opposition parties - the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (of which Chowdhury belonged) and the Jamaat-e-Islami (for which Mujahid belonged).

Ever since the killing of the Italian citizen, Cesara Tavella, at the end of September 2014, the government has sought to blame this and the other various killings claimed by the Islamic State upon these two opposition parties, and has been using its law enforcing authorities to support this position.

In particular the government has tried to argue that the attacks claimed by Islamic State were not done by operatives linked to the Syrian based organization, but by people - from the BNP and the JI - seeking to stop the war crimes executions.

The continuation of the Facebook ban, which was initiated to deal with a security threat triggered by the execution of a BNP and a Jammat Leader, helps support the government contention that it it these parties (seeking revenge for the executions of their leaders, or simply trying to impede the process of trials) who are country's real security threats, and not Islamic State or others.

Stopping the publication and distribution of dissent
The second and possibly more significant reason is to prevent the publication and distribution of critical commentary about the government and contemporary politics in the country.

Bangladesh's media now has become highly restricted. The country's largest advertisers have been banned from advertising in Prothom Alo and the Daily Star, the country's leading Bengali and English language newspapers respectively, causing them significant income losses, in an apparent attempt to intimidate them, and force them into line or indeed out of business.

Other independent papers have also read the writing on the wall. Investigative journalism critical of the government's activities is now rarely seen in any newspaper - and it certainly has now become impossible for newspapers to publish critical commentary on the International Crimes Tribunal. Bangladesh TV is controlled to an even greater extent - with those seen as critical of the government rarely being invited to speak on the chat shows, the only place that Bangladesh television had allowed some kind of critical commentary on the government's conduct.

In this situation, Facebook had become a key place where Bangladeshis increasingly turned to write, read and distribute critical commentary. The social media site had turned into an important space for critical writing and reading on Bangladesh politics.

The Bangladesh government has for some time been concerned about Facebook as a place for dissent, and threats around the International Crimes Tribunal (perhaps initially justified) provided it an excellent opportunity to close it down on a more permanent basis.

The continuation of the banning of Facebook is just a reflection of the government's desire to control all forms of perfectly legitimate dissent in Bangladesh.

Don't expect the government to open it up soon.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Articles on the police investigation into the murder of Cesare Tavella

On 28 September, the Italian national, Cesare Tavella was shot to death with eye-witnesses pointing to the involvement of three people, two of whom were on a motorbike. Islamic state claimed responsibility for the murder, though the government says that this is not true.

The police authorities have arrested five people - the three people who they say were present at the scene of the murder, the person who provided the bike (all four of whom have provided confessional statements) and the alleged financier of the operation, who is the brother of an opposition party ward commissioner who has been out of the country since April this year.

Here are four articles published in New Age newspaper concerning the police investigation. (Also see here an overall analysis of the investigation)

‘I was threatened with crossfire’, accused tells family (New Age, November 11)David Bergman and Muktadir Rashid
Another man accused of the murder of Italian citizen Cesare Tavella in Dhaka has told his family that he gave a confessional statement to a metropolitan magistrate as he was ‘brutally tortured’ and ‘threatened with cross fire.’
Four relatives of the accused, Rasel Chowdhury, met him on Saturday in Kashimpur Central Jail where he had been remanded two days earlier by a metropolitan magistrate after confessing to his involvement in the murder on September 28 of the Italian NGO worker in Gulshan’s diplomatic zone.
On October 26, along with three other men, Rasel was presented to the media and accused of involvement in the murder of Cesara. Police said that all the four were arrested the previous night, though witnesses claimed that the men were picked up separately two weeks earlier between October 10 and 15.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Tavella Murder: 5 'arrests', 5 secret detentions, 4 'confessions

MA Matin, at the magistrate court
On Thursday, 5 November New Age published an article on the alleged pick up by law enforcing authorities of MA Matin, the brother of MA Quayum who law enforcement authorities alleged was the master-mind behind the killings of the Italian NGO worker in Dhaka at the end of September.

In front of many eye-witnesses, including shopkeepers and local people, at about 7.30 pm on Tuesday the 20 October, as he was on his way to say his prayers, Matin was pushed into a microbus van just around the corner from where he lived by men in plain clothes.

As the article went to press, 15 days after this detention, Matin was still missing - presumably in the secret and illegal detention of law enforcement authorities.

However, early that very morning - somewhat miraculously - the police suddenly announced that "the detective branch has arrested MA Matin in connection with Tavella murder from Benapole, Jessore tonight while [he was] trying to leave the country."

Thursday, November 5, 2015

An article on Egypt, should turn Bangladeshi heads

Bangladesh is indeed far from being Egypt and vice versa, but I have for some time noted certain similarities in the deployment of political power by the respective regimes. 

The hard 'secular' leader, brooking no oppression, repressing the political opposition (particularly the Islamist voices) squeezing freedom of speech, using illegitimate elections to stay in power, all with little dissent from 'the west' as Islamic militancy is their greatest enemy.

The Guardian has a great piece published a few days ago, written in the context of General Sisi's visit to the UK. 

And this particular  extract should really turn heads in Bangladesh - as it could almost be written about here.

"In Egypt the regime has polarised the country and suffocated all avenues of peaceful expression and dissent through politics, civil society or media, leaving many dead, disappeared, imprisoned, hiding or exiled. The anti-protest and anti-terrorism laws have left no space for any meaningful dialogue in Egypt, let alone dissent. This is not only true for the demonised Islamist camp: the crackdown has reached every voice of opposition across the ideological and political spectrum. However, the current environment is fertile ground for radicalisation, as many disenfranchised young Egyptians find themselves questioning the ideals of freedom and democracy that they once cherished when they see the free world silent in the face of Sisi’s repression. The government continues to allocate every resource to suffocating any political opposition instead of effectively combating extremism."

The seven questions the Netherlands PM should ask Sheikh Hasina

The Bangladesh prime minister arriving in the
Netherlands on a three day trip
Netherlands has become the first European (or indeed 'Western' country) to invite the Bangladesh prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, on an official visit since the controversial 5 January 2014 elections.

Bangladesh, as a country, has much going for it with an economy motoring along at 6%, and a government with big dreams of moving the country to a middle income country.

At the same time, however, the human rights situation has perhaps never been worse - certainly not since the return of democracy  in 1990. As Human Rights Watch has recently put it: the country has a ‘large number of chronic and serious human rights violations which fly under the radar on the global scene.’

So, whilst the Netherlands ministers discusses important things as cooperation on dealing with flooding in Bangladesh, and other development collaborations, perhaps they can also take the time to at least ask her questions on these seven issues

1. Media Freedom

The country's military intelligence DGFI, which the prime minister controls, has ordered the major telecommunications and consumer companies to stop advertising by in the country's two leading independent newspapers, The Daily Star and Prothom Alo.

What are you going to do to stop this significant infringement of the freedom of the media and intimidation of these papers?

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Twelve things you need to know about the recent killings in Bangladesh

Four men, accused by police of killing Italian NGO worker, Cesare Travella in Dhaka on 28 September,
were detained secretly and illegally for between 10 and 14 days before being presented to the media.
In a country where torture by police is systemic, can one believe their 'confessions'?

The twelve points below attempts to analyze what is going on in Bangladesh in relation to:

  • the murders in late september and early October of two non-Bangladeshis, and the bombing of a Shia procession (which resulted in deaths of two Bangladeshis) in mid-October - all of which have been claimed by Islamic State (IS);
  • the Bangladesh government's claim that IS does not exist in Bangladesh and there was no involvement of Islamic State in any of these incidents;
  • the various claims made by the Home Minister and anonymous police sources that BNP and Jamaat leaders are behind the killing.
  • the recents arrests by the Bangladesh government of four people whom they claim were behind the first murder; and
  • the connections, if any, between these killings - and the murders early this year, and indeed just this week, of so called 'aethist bloggers' and their supporters;

1. Understanding the chronology leading up to the killing of Cesare Travella

It is important to understand the chronology of events leading up to the murder of Italian citizen Cesare Tavella who was shot to death in Dhaka's diplomatic zone on 28 September.

On Saturday 26 September, Cricket Australia announced it had received advice from Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) that it had “reliable information to suggest that militants may be planning to target Australian interests in Bangladesh.”

- During the day on Monday, 28 September, UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office revised its travel warning to Bangladesh. Prior to that day, the warning had only stated that 'there is a general threat from terrorism,' but on the 28th, the travel warning was re-drafted to state specifically that 'In late September 2015, there is reliable information that militants may be planning to target western interests in Bangladesh.

- On the same day, the US also revised its travel warning to state 'There is reliable new information to suggest that militants may be planning to target Australian interests in Bangladesh. Such attacks, should they occur, could likely affect other foreigners, including U.S. citizens'

- Both the British High Commission and the US embassy say that these warnings were drafted during the day of the 28th but only uploaded shortly after 7pm - which was after the murder of Cesare, but before they had come to know about it. One assumes that the basis of these warnings was the same intelligence in the hands of the Australian government.

- At about 6.15 pm on Monday 28 September, the Italian Aid worker, Cesare Tavella, 50, was shot dead on Road 90, of Gulshan 2, an upmarket part of the capital city on a road that is technically part of the diplomatic quarter.

- on the very same evening, ISIS issued a statement, which was first reported by the SITE intelligence group, claiming responsibility for the killings. An informal translation of the ISIS statement states that:
"this is an announcement by the soldiers of the Khilafat in Bangladesh that we killed a crusader after our soldiers followed him in Dhaka and shot him using silencers till he was dead. This is a warning to all nationals of crusader nationals : you will never find security in Muslim countries. And the rain starts with one drop."
So, the killing of Cesare came soon after the Australian, United States and United Kingdom governments received information that 'militants' - short hand for 'Islamic' terrorists - were planning a violent act against foreigners in Bangladesh and then within hours of the murder it is reported by Site International (see below) that Islamic State had claimed responsible for the killing.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Blogger killings: Justifying the unjustifiable












A Facebook status published today of someone whom I do not know (and shall not name) sought to justify the killings yesterday of Dipan and the attack on Tutul, both publishers of Avijit Roy. The status has since been removed, so I paraphrase :
"I have no sympathy for those bloggers that have been killed. The Gonojagaron Mancho have brought it upon themselves by calling for the hanging of people, despite an unfair trial process. They deserve what they get."
This is so wrong, on many levels. There is simply no way that one can justify the 'blogger killings' on the basis that the people killed may have been part of a political demand that those convicted of crimes before the International Crimes Tribunal should be hung.

The men who killed the 'bloggers' - or their publisher - simply decided on their own that these people had committed some sort of crime for which they deserved to be killed. And then they killed them. That is entirely beyond the law and judicial system. There is only one word for it. And that is murder.

Yes, the Gonojagaron Mancho have called and are calling for hanging of those convicted of war crimes - but they do so only at the end of a judicial process in which charges are laid against the accused; where the charges for which the men are accused allow for the death penalty; after a trial has taken place in which witnesses are summoned; and a conviction is given by the court and an appeal process is permitted.

Whatever the inadequacies of the process - and in my view there are many - the Mancho's calling for the hanging of those who have committed these crimes (though in my view misplaced) is a million miles away from killing, or supporting the killing of bloggers, who have not committed any crime, have not been subject to any judicial process, and have not been charged for an offense that allows the death penalty.

It may be the case that calling for hanging following a perceived unfair process, has allowed Islamic extremists and others to think that they are then justified in murdering those who support the calling for the hanging (as indeed this Facebook status shows). But any attempt to link the two is totally unjustified.

The Facebook status - which I guess reflects the views of a considerable section of those who are critical of the International Crimes Tribunal - is very revealing.

It shows clearly that these people - pro-Jamaati, in the main, I imagine - are only critical of the International Crimes Tribunal because they are supporters of the accused who are to be subject to the death penalty - and not because they are interested in due process in any principled way.

These people are not concerned about fair trials, or rights of the accused as such - in fact they are  quite happy for the bloggers to be killed without any judicial process at all. If their patrons or parties came back to power in Bangladesh, I would put my bottom dollar that they would lose any interest in due process and would be happy to see the government prosecute unfairly those people who are their political enemies. And indeed put them to death.

Of course, this is not to say that the criticisms of the tribunal, held by these same supporters of the accused, are not correct. Only that they are deploying the arguments opportunistically, and they would be quite happy with the current ICT process if their political enemies were the accused.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

7 things to know about the government's advert embargo

On Thursday, Al Jazeera published a report on how on 16 August 2015, Bangladesh intelligence agency officials had instructed telecommunication and consumer good companies from advertising in the country's two leading newspapers.

After you have read the article, as well as the full statement from Telenor (the majority shareholder of Grameen Phone), here are seven further things to understand about this situation.







1. Dont underestimate the significance of this attack on Prothom Alo and the Daily Star

Love them, or hate them, the Daily Star and Prothom Alo are the leading English and Bengali language papers respectively. In part, this is because they are centrist, independent from government and operate at arms length from their corporate owners - unlike much of the media here. In fact, the papers do share many of the current government's values relating for example to extremism, the 1971 war, the war crimes trials, and secularism. However, at the same time they are willing to report on governance failures - whether these relate to elections, corruption, or general mal-administrations, and these rile the government

The order by DGFI, presumably with the agreement of the powers that be in the Bangladesh government, to stop large companies from advertising in Prothom Alo and the Daily Star is a serious attempt to undermine the freedom of the media in Bangladesh. By throttling the papers' advertising revenue, the government is trying to bring these papers in line - so they no longer are the independent institutions, able to question and challenge the government through their reporting and investigative journalism.

Though there is a background of historic disagreements as to why parts of the government do not like these papers, this current attack on the papers is probably not just about settling scores. Members of the government think that Prothom Alo's reporting and journalism, which reaches many millions of people, can swing votes. This attack is about ensuring that when the next elections come, the government has beaten these papers into submission - and perhaps even to have them shut them down.

2. The silence of the media

What is particularly worrying about the current situation, is that not a word about the instruction has been reported in the country's newspapers or electronic media - not in the Daily Star/Prothom Alo, nor in other newspapers and TV media, although they are all fully aware of the situation.


Thursday, October 8, 2015

'An instruction from the authorities': Full statement given by Telenor

Al Jazeera, yesterday published a report on the involvement of the military intelligence agency, DGFI, in instructing large telecommunication and consumer product companies from advertising in the country's two largest and most popular independent newspapers.

You can read the article here.

Telenor, the Norwegian parent company of Grameen Phone provided a statement to Al Jazeera, only part of which was reported in the article. Below is the full statement. It was sent by Tor Odland, VP, Head of Communications, Telenor Group in Asia
"Grameenphone, a company majority owned by Telenor Group, has along with several other large corporations, received an instruction from the authorities to stop advertisements in two leading newspapers in Bangladesh. As a result, Grameenphone has been unable to effectively maintain commercial communication with its customers via these newspapers. A significant number of steps have already been taken by Telenor and Grameenphone to limit the overall impact. This includes initiating a dialogue with the industry, investors, media partners and the authorities. These efforts will continue with the aim of resuming normal commercial activities with the newspapers as soon as possible."



Wednesday, September 9, 2015

IRI poll: Too good to be true?

Simply put, the results of the recent opinion poll undertaken by Nielsen Bangladesh for the International Republican Institute (IRI) could barely be better for the Awami League - and could hardly be worse for the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party. Consistently, across all questions, the AL government does well, and far better than the BNP.

The poll was taken between the 23 May and 10 June, and involved questioning  2550 randomly selected respondents above the age of 18. Here are the key results.

- 60% of people 'like' the Awami League, compared to 29% who do not (only 42% like the BNP, with a higher percentage, 46%, disliking it) 
- 67% of people 'approve' of the job being done by the prime minister. Only 26% disapproved. 
- 66 % of people  'approve' of the job being done by the government. Only 29% disapproved. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Contempt of court: The curious case of the chasm between India and Bangladesh

This is the second in an occasional series (the first was in the sister blog dealing with the war crimes trials) pointing to the chasm between the practice of Indian and Bangladesh courts towards critical commentary, and in particular the circumstances when criticism will result in criminal proceedings for 'contempt of court' (through what is known as 'scandalization of the court', distinguishable from other categories of contempt of court which this post is not referring to.*)

The courts in Bangladesh have said that 'fair criticism' is permitted, but have at the same time often taken an approach which narrowly construes what it considers to fall into this category.

As a result, it is difficult for journalists in Bangladesh to write commentary on the judiciary in Bangladesh without seriously risking contempt proceedings being issued against them (and their editors/publishers). This is particularly the case when third parties - usually lawyers - are ever so eager to bring any critical commentary to the attention of the courts, which is the case here.

This situation is however very different from that in India, where critical commentary - some of it very critical indeed - seems very much to be permitted, and does not create a risk of contempt proceedings. The situation in India seems to be getting closer to the one in England where the offense of contempt by 'scandalizing the court' has been repealed.

Today, for example, The Wire had published a pretty excoriating piece about the Indian Supreme court (equivalent to Bangladesh's appellate division) which should simply not be able to be published here, even in a toned down version.

Friday, August 21, 2015

RAB and the British blogger-killer arrest

The FIR lodged with
the police three months
ago
On Tuesday, Bangladesh's supposedly elite counter-terrorist organization, the  Rapid Action Battalion organized a press conference to announce the arrest of three men, one of whom was a British citizen. At the press conference they claimed that the three had been arrested late the previous night or early that morning, and had confessed to membership of the militant organization, Ansarullah Bangla Team and to the killing of two of the four bloggers killed this year in Bangladesh.

The story the police gave about the arrest was quite detailed. One of the men was arrested on Monday evening, and he gave information that led onto the arrest of the other two men, including the British citizen Towhidul Rahman, outside Star Kebab in Dhanmondi, Dhaka.

It has now come to light that the police story about his detention on early Tuesday morning is not likely to be true.

As reported in Al Jazeera, the security guard and the caretaker of the building in which Tawhidul Rahman lived confirm that he was picked up on 28 May 2015, three months earlier, by people who introduced themselves as people from the 'administration/detective branch'. Moreover, later that day, the sister filed a 'general diary' (known here as a GD, and is the means by which the public provide the police with information about a crime or possible crime)with the police station informing them of her brother's 'arrest' by 'DB officers', and five days later filed a First Information Report - known here as an FIR, which is the way in which a criminal case starts) with similar information.


Sunday, June 7, 2015

Modi's visit and the BNP leader detained in India

It can't be very pleasant for the country's main opposition party, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, to see  prime minister Sheikh Hasina get so much acclaim and kudos during the visit of the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi - but there is one very good reason why the party can be thankful for the prime minister's visit to Bangladesh at this particular time.



And that is the decision two days ago of the Shillong District and Sessions Judge’s Court court to grant bail to Salah Uddin Ahmed.

Salah Uddin is, as you will remember, the BNP leader who was allegedly picked up by law enforcement agents on 10 March from a flat in Uttara and who was then two months later, according to him, dumped in the Indian hill town of Shillong.

It has been difficult from Dhaka to follow the ins-and-outs of exactly what has been going on in Shillong over the last month, but my understanding is that the reason why bail was not agreed by the court the previous week was because the police/prosecutor and the defense could not agree the conditions for bail.

At that time, the police/prosecutor apparently would only agree to bail as long as Salah Uddin stayed at a particular appointed place, and reported daily to the police. Salah Uddin's defense lawyers wanted far more liberal conditions so that they could take him anywhere in Shillong, and reporting to the authorities only on a weekly basis.

Two days ago, the defense got their own way, and this must surely be linked to the impending trip of Modi to Bangladesh, a few days later.

Modi's people would not, I would conjecture, have wanted Salah Uddin to still be in detention when he came to Bangladesh. Apart from anything else this would have colored his meeting with Khaleda Zia who would one assume have brought the matter up. With the Indian authorities and court dealing with Salah Uddin in an apparently liberal matter, the BNP can only be happy with how India has treated the BNP leader.

Modi's visit could not have been better timed for Salah Uddin .. and the BNP


Thursday, June 4, 2015

A crib sheet for the Indian prime minister

India's new prime minister
Updated

Warning. This page includes political satire! Do not read on if you are easily offended by politicians you support being satirised! 

With the Indian prime minister Narendra Modi arriving in Bangladesh in a few days time, I thought it might be useful to provide him a crib sheet which will help him understand what Awami League ministers, and the party's civil society supporters, really mean when they talk about 'democracy', the 'BNP', and  'elections' and also to assist him in comprehending any conversation he may have with BNP leaders.

Please suggest definitions of new word (or indeed better ones for those below) in particular for BNP vocabulary in the comment 
section or by e-mailing, bangladeshpolitico@gmail.com


For the Awami League meetings
Anti-corruption commission - an organization that proves that it is the opposition party leaders who steel money from government coffers.
Anti-Liberation force - a person or group who does not unconditionally support the present government (see 'Razaker')
An Ally (of Bangladesh) - a country that never criticizes or comments negatively on Bangladesh (and preferably gives it lots of money) (see 'Hostile country') 
Bangladesh Nationalist Party - a terrorist organization which has no right to take part in the country's politics and all of whose leaders should be in jail.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Election commission slammed in UK government report

The European Union, UK's Department for International Development, USAID and UNDP have since 2011 financed a UNDP-managed project supporting the Election Commission in Bangladesh.

EU, by far the biggest funder, has provided   $8.8 million
UK's DfID has provided                                $2.4 million
UNDP has provided                                      $2 million
USAID has provided                                     $1.4 million

This is a total of $14.6 million, of which $11.4 million has been spent. A similar project took place involving the previous 5 year period

Since 2011, there has been three sets of key elections: the national elections in January 2014, the upazilla elections in March of that year (that were held in four rounds), and most recently the City Corporation elections in April 2015.

In September 2014, DfID undertook an annual assessment of the money spent on this project (written before the recent City Corporation elections) and it is damning. The much more diplomatic UNDP mid-term review is also critical in parts.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

So Salah Uddin made his own way to India?


The round the clock service that RAB offers
See: Salah Uddin in India - the 3 things to know
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Those desperate to spin the story that Bangladesh law enforcers were not responsible for the pick up of Salah Uddin Ahmed from a flat in Uttara on 10 March 2015 - presumably suggesting that he or the BNP manufactured his own disappearance - have become so desperate that they now have to rely on quotes supposedly given by a singular uncorroborated anonymous intelligence officer to support their claim.

It is perhaps not surprising that the Bangla Tribune - the Awami League's friendly and cuddly bangla language news portal - started it off. It is however rather more surprising (and disappointing) that the Dhaka Tribune, its sister English language publication with its far more professional ethos, decided to do a bit of an encore.

Sometime yesterday, the Bangla Tribune, put up a story titled 'Salahuddin dosen’t know how he crossed the border' based around an interview with an anonymous senior intelligence officer.
Salah Uddin went to india in the third week of April by crossing the border. After several attempts he was able to cross the broder and went to india’s Meghalaya through Sylhet’s Jokiganj, said investigators. …. 
A senior official of a intelligence agency told Bangla Tribune, that Salah Uddin disappeared from Dhaka's Uttara on March 10. Then he tried to cross the border from different areas of country but because of strict monitoring of the border he failed to do that. Later in third week of April he managed to enter Meghalaya through Sylhet’s Jokiganj with the help of an agent. The official also said, Salahuddin was planning to go to Nepal. He was preparing for the trip during his stay in Meghalaya but because of the of April 25 earthquake in Nepal he scrapped the plan. In the meantime, he also become little sick.
Does anyone with a modicum of common sense or objectivity imagine that senior officials of a Bangladesh government intelligence agency - yet alone, as we have here, a single anonymised uncorroborated intelligence officer - have a single iota of credibility when they provides information very supportive of the government's line that law enforcement bodies were not involved in Salah Uddin's disappearance - when in fact this is a story where the evidence strongly supports the view that law enforcement agencies were directly involved in the BNP leader's abduction  and where there is not a single piece of evidence to support the contrary contention that he conspired his own disappearance?

I understand that the Bangla Tribune and many others want to believe that Salah Uddin's disappearance is some kind of BNP conspiracy - but it is sad that they can only do this through the obviously fictitious words of an intelligence officer. 

What this article fails to mention - because, of course, to include it would make the basis of the intelligence officer's claim even more absurd - is anything about what is known about Salah Uddin's disappearance.

Let us just remind ourselves about what is known - and what the Bangla Tribune and all the other pro-government media outlets leave out
1. In the early hours of 8 March, two days before Salah Uddin was disappeared, RAB raided the houses of three employees of the BNP leader - two of his drivers and his personal assistant - and detained them for two days. Apart from the testimony of family members and independent witnesses, we know that RAB was involved in these picks up, as it is mentioned in a police document given to court. 
2. On the same morning, acco, rding to independent eye-witnesses, in their search for Salah UddinRAB raided residential flats in a building in Road 136 of  Gulsan-1 presumably on the basis of information provided by the picked up employees. The RAB officers specifically went to a first floor flat where Salah Uddin had been staying until a few days earlier, and searched the flat. They found no-one there except a 70 year old cook who was also picked up. 
3. This flat was owned by a director of First Security Islami Bank, Shahidul Islam, who is also the brother of the chairman of the bank, Md Saiful Alam.
 4. The bank is significant as the building where the headquarters is located (just across the road from road 136) is owned by Salah Uddin and on same morning RAB raided the bank's headquarters searching for Salah Uddin thinking that he may be hiding in the 6th floor board room. He was not present there.  
5. RAB came back to the bank later that morning and took its CCTV footage away - though it is unclear whether they were looking for evidence of Salah Uddin's presence in the bank or whether they just wanted to remove evidence of the raid of the bank. 
6. At the time, Salah Uddin was living in a flat in Uttara which belonged to Habib Hasnat, a deputy managing director of First Security Islami bank. So he had moved from a flat owned by a director of First Secuirty Islami bank (which RAB had raided) to the deputy managing director of the bank.
7. On the evening of 10 March, men came to the flat where Salah Uddin was living. According to the multiple interviews which the caretaker of the buildings gave to different newspaper and others - which have been recorded both on video and audit - he said that men who introduced themselves as detective branch officers took Salah Uddin away, blindfolded from the building. 
8. Local residents and guards also confirm that law enforcement officials and vehicles were present on the road that night. 
9. Security officers of the local Welfare Trust confirm that RAB officers asked them on the night of 10 March where was road 13/b - which was the road where Salah Uddin was picked up from
10. Habib Hasnat (DMD, First Security) Shahidul Islam (Director, First Security), Md Saiful Alam (chairman, First Security) all leave the country immediately after Salah Uddin was taken.
Go here for all the links 
The article - and indeed all Bangla Tribune coverage of the Salah Uddin disappearance - also fails to mention that his pick-up is far from an isolated incident. Most recently just before the 5 January 2014 elections, 19 BNP activists were picked up in Dhaka over the course of a two week period, in eight separate incidents with eye-witness testimony in all these cases pointing clearly to the involvement of the law enforcement authorities, in particular RAB and the DB.

And also, of course, the article significantly fails to mention that another disappeared person, Sukharanjan Bali, was also found (as I have mentioned in an earlier posting) in very similar circumstances to those now apparently experience by Salah Uddin - and that he gave a statement that law enforcement authorities first detained him for 6 weeks and then drove him to the Indian border. Sound familiar?

So enough of all this. It is fine for the Bangla Tribune to have a particular ideological bent. It is not fine for it, and other pro-government papers and websites, to distort and lie about RAB's desperate searches for Salah Uddin, their circling of First Security Islami Bank and its directors, what eyewitnesses said about the evening of his disappearance - and instead to quote from sources that have no credibility at all.

As to the Dhaka Tribune. Well, it used the same quote from the intelligence officer in its main article in this morning paper as though it was a respectable piece of information. (Interestingly, in the Bangla Tribune article the quote was given to the Bangla Tribune, but in the Dhaka Tribune article, the same exact quote was given to the Dhaka Tribune. It would be nice to know which is right?)


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Salah Uddin Ahmed in India - the three things to know

See also: So Salah Uddin made his own way to India, did he?
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Salah Uddin Ahmed, a joint general secretary of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, who has been missing since he was allegedly picked up by law enforcement agencies on 10 March, just over two months ago, has been located in the Institute of Mental Health & Neurosciences Hospital in Shillong in the Indian state of Meghalaya.

His wife told me that she received a call from the hospital this morning, and spoke to her husband. She says that he told her that  'I am alive', that she should meet Khaleda Zia and and that she should tell the media what has happened.

According to media reports, the Police in Meghalaya say they arrested Salah Uddin Ahmed from Golf Links in capital Shillong late on Monday, that he was hospitalised and that it appeared to be a case of illegal trespass into Indian territory without valid travel documents.

So what do we make of this? Here are three initials things to know.

First of all this is very similar to what happened to Sukhranjan Bali.

Bali was a witness at the International Crimes Tribunal who was picked up on 5 February 2012, from outside the International Crimes Tribunal on the morning he hoped to give evidence on behalf of Delwar Hossain Sayedee. His defense lawyers claimed at the time that law enforcement officials who introduced themselves as from the detective branch took him.

Seven months later, New Age revealed that he was detained in an Indian jail. In a statement he gave from the jail which was reported in the paper, he said that he was picked up and kept for six weeks in a place that he thought was a detective branch office when he was then driven to the border of India and pushed over from where he was arrested for illegal entry. The article reads:
Bali's statement goes on to state that having been kept by Bangladesh law enforcing agencies for about six weeks, on December 23, 2012 he was blindfolded and taken by the Bangladesh police to the border and handed him over to India's Border Security Force.
"They stopped the car in Magura at a hotel to provide me with food. They removed the blindfold and I found out that I was brought there in a private car. After I finished my meal, I was again blindfolded and we were driving again and they finally handed me over to the BSF about 5:00pm and then they left," he says in his statement.
Bali says that he was harshly treated by the Border Security Force.
It seems that that the law enforcement authorities have used a similar modus operandi in this case.

Secondly, I doubt that we will know the truth about what happened to Salah Uddin whilst the Awami League is in power.

Though there can be no doubt that on 10 March Salah Uddin was taken by anyone other than the law enforcement authorities, pieces of the jigsaw remain missing - and it seems unlikely that Salah Uddin himself will will speak publicly. His wife said today that all she is concerned is that he is alive, and I am sure that there is an implicit/explicit deal that Salah Uddin has been allowed to live as long as he does not speak publicly about what happened to him. Moreover, of course, he may well find himself holed up in an Indian jail for sometime (on charges of illegal entry), with the prospect if he is sent back to Bangladesh he will be arrested on various cases against him.

And thirdly, this is how government's get away time and again with these kinds of abduction. Fear. Along of course with supine human rights organizations, a quiescent civil society and a silent and compromised international community.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Bank raid suggests law enforcers involved in disappearance

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This is a further article about the disappearance of Salah Uddin, the BNP leader allegedly picked up by law enforcement authorities on 10 March 2015, whose whereabouts remain unknown. It deals with the implications of a raid on a bank by the Rapid Action Battalion, two days before the disappearance. It was published in New Age on 6 May 2015

Bank raid suggests law enforcers involved 
May 6, 2015 
David Bergman and Muktadir Rashid 
An early morning raid by Rapid Action Battalion on 8 March 2015 on the Gulshan headquarters of the First Security Islami Bank further suggests that law enforcement authorities were involved in picking up opposition leader Salah Uddin Ahmed two days later, New Age can reveal.
Investigation by the paper has found that the bank provides a crucial link between a sequence of raids and arrests by RAB that finally resulted in the BNP politician being picked up, just over 48 hours later on 10 March, from a flat in Uttara where one of the bank’s deputy managing directors lived.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Eight takeaways from the Mayor elections


Courtesy of the Daily Star: Vote rigging in plain sight
Here are eight key take-aways from yesterday's Mayor election.

1. Now we know what the Prime Minister means by 'free and fair elections'.

In January 2014, the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina promised there would be 'free and fair' national elections, even without a caretaker government. The BNP and opposition parties boycotted it, arguing that there could be no such election under a political government  In 2015, she promised the same in the city mayor elections. This time the BNP did not boycott. Now I suppose we know what would have happened had the BNP taken part in the 2014 elections and is likely to  happen in the 2019  national elections: widespread ballot box stuffing along with police and election commission complicity (see here for just one such example). Despite all the evidence, this morning the prime minister has stated: 'The city corporations elections were conducted in a free, fair and peaceful manner. The police administration has discharged their duties responsibly.” Were these elections a dress rehearsal of what will happen in 2019 national elections?

2. Winning is the only important thing.

For the Awami League right now (and no doubt it would be the same were the BNP in power), winning power is the only thing that matters. The Awami League could have taken a different view, allowing the election to be free and fair, and letting the most popular candidate win. Were the Awami League to have done this and lost, then they could have argued, 'Look we are capable of holding free and fair elections. The BNP should have no worries for the future.' But no, it does not matter to the government right now how they win, as long as they do win.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

index of material on Salah Uddin 'disappearance'

Hasina Ahmed, wife of Salah Uddin
Below is an index of the material contained on this blog about the disappearance of Salah Uddin.

It is divided into two parts. First the journalism on the evidence about what happened to the BNP leader.

Secondly, the material on the Habeas corpus writ filed by his wife.



Key journalism on abduction by law enforcers
1. Summary of the evidence **** (read this article first)
2. Interview with caretaker of building where Salah Uddin picked up (New Age) 
3. Interview with caretaker of building where Salah Uddin picked up (Prothom Alo, translation) 
4. Interviews with security officers and residents in area where Salah Uddin picked up (New Age) 
5. Article on how three employees of Salah Uddin were arrested by RAB on 8 March, three days before Salah Uddin was picked up, and how on the same day, the flat where Salah Uddin had earlier been staying was raided and the cook was arrested
6. Article on the raid on First Security Islami Bank on 8 March, and how the bank provides crucial link between a sequence of raids and arrests by RAB that finally resulted in the BNP politician being picked up, just over 48 hours later on 10 March, from a flat in Uttara where one of the bank’s deputy managing directors lived. (New Age)
7. 'Two stories to help understanding Salah Uddin's Disappearance' (New Age op-ed)
      - ICT witness alleges state abduction (May 2013)
      - 19 BNP activists disappeared in Dhaka over 2 week period  (Dec 2014)

Habeas Corpus writ
This is a writ filed in the High Court by the family of Salah Uddin
1. Habeas Corpus application for recovery of Salah Uddin and order of the court 
2. Supplementary application from Salah Uddin's wife  
3. Response from Government and law enforcement bodies
4. Annex to government response: Uttara police station's "General Diaries" 
5. Further annexes to government response: Correspondence of law enforcing authorities
6. Response of Salah Uddin's wife to government 
7. Further application by Salah Uddin's wife seeking judicial inquiry body

Salah Uddin disappearance: Summary of the evidence

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     This has been updated to include material  published on
     6 May 2015


The evidence supporting law enforcement authority involvement in Salah Uddin's disappearance on the evening of 10 March from a house in Uttara is as follows

1. A pattern of behavior

The government's law enforcement authorities have picked up and disappeared many other BNP leaders and activists in recent years - in particular 19 activists who were taken in a single two week period in Dhaka just before the January 2014 elections where substantial evidence exists that law enforcement authorizing, including Rapid Action Battalion and Detective Branch of the police. The whereabouts of these 19 remain unknown. There are many more such cases. Salah Uddin's disappearance is nothing new.

2. RAB was desperately searching for Salah Uddin in days before pick up

The law enforcement authorities were desperately looking for Salah Uddin in the few days before he was picked up on the night of 10 March 2015.

(a) Pick up of three of Salah Uddin's employee in the early hours of 8th March. Three days before Salah Uddin Ahmed was picked him, the BNP leader's two drivers (Khokon and Shafique) and his personal assistant Goni, were picked up from their houses. Family members and independent eye-witnesses confirm that the men were picked up on this date by law enforcement authorities. Court documents state that "RAB" arrested them.

These three men were kept in the law enforcement custody for over 48 hours before being brought before a magistrate's court. This is illegal as they should have been brought before a magistrate's court within 24 hours. When they were brought before the court, the prosecutor alleged that they were 'accomplices' of Salah Uddin and had 'harbored' him. They were remanded in further police custody for three days.

See here: RAB picked up three Salah Uddin employees and cook

RAB 'arrest' of Salah Uddin's three employees, and cook

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This is an article about the disappearance of Salah Uddin, the BNP leader allegedly picked up by law enforcement authorities on 10 March 2015, whose whereabouts are unknown. It deals with the pick up two days before Salah Uddin's disappearance of three of his employees and a cook. It was published in New Age on 4 April 2015

More about the evidence involving the alleged pick up, can be found in the index
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RAB picked up 3 employees and cook, 3 days before 
April 4, 2015 
David Bergman and Muktadir Rashid

In the early hours of March 8, three days before the Bangladesh Nationalist Party leader Salah Uddin Ahmed is alleged to have been picked up by law enforcement officers, his two drivers and personal assistant were detained by the paramilitary force, Rapid Action Battalion, New Age can confirm.
The three men were arrested from their homes in West Kalachadpur and Badda between 1 am and 3.30 am and held for over 48 hours before being taken to a magistrate’s court two days later where they were accused of ‘sheltering’ the BNP leader.
Investigation by New Age has also found that within an hour of the two drivers being taken from their homes, RAB officers raided a block of flats in Gulshan-1 trying to find Salah Uddin.
After searching the flats, the law enforcement officers took away a 65-year-old cook who had been living in one of the flats where the BNP joint secretary general had earlier been in hiding.
Two days after his detention, the cook was brought to Dhaka district’s magistrate court, along with Salah Uddin’s three employees, where he was also accused of ‘harbouring’ the BNP leader.

Two stories to help understand Salah Uddin's disappearance

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This is an oped published in the New Age about the Salah Uddin disappearance on 2 April 2015. The original article can be seen here

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Understanding Salah Uddin’s disappearance 
April 2, 2015 
by David Bergman 
Here are two stories that can help us understand what has happened to Salah Uddin Ahmed, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party leader who eye-witnesses claim was picked up by law enforcement authorities on March 10 (an allegation denied by the government) and what might be his fate.
The first story involves Sajedul Islam Sumon, 36, a BNP ward general secretary in Dhaka, his cousin and four activists of the BNP’s student wing.
At about 6:00pm, on November 4, 2013 they were standing outside an under-construction house on Road 4 of Block I of the Bashundara Residential Area, when, according to construction workers present at the site, all six of them were whisked away by officers from the Rapid Action Battalion.
‘One of the cars was a black pickup, the ones usually used by RAB,’ one worker said describing the vehicles in which the men were picked up. ‘Around four of [the men] were in plain clothes and the remaining seven or eight were dressed in the black uniform of RAB with black bandanas around their heads.’

Salah Uddin habeas writ - new application for establishment of judicial body

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This is a further application filed by the wife of Salah Uddin Ahmed,  ex-state Minister and Joint Secretary of BNP for 'direction to the opposite parties to form a high power judicial inquiry body headed by a retired Justice for finding out/produce the petitioner's husband Salah Uddin Ahmed before the court to be dealt with according to law'. The same eight respondents are named in this application as in the original habeas corpus one.

The content of the application is almost identical to that in the response to the counter affidavit, apart from the prayer seeking the judicial committee.

More material from the Habeas Corpus application can be found from the Index above
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1. That the victim Salauddin Ahmed was a brilliant student. He has studied in the University of Dhaka with subject of law. He served in administration (Magistrate) …. He was former APS of former Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia in the period of 1991 to 1996. He is a former elected MP of Coxs Bazaar-1. He was a state minister in the period of 2001 to 2--6. He is now Joint Secretary of BNP and he is a very popular leader.
2. That the guard of the house is a eye witness of the occurrence from where the pick up of the victim Salauddin Ahmed [took place], which is published in Daily 'Prothom Alo' newspaper on 13.03.2015. Desh TV also take a interview of the guard. 
3. The police of Uttara Police Station picked up the guard of the house, from where Salauddin Ahmed was picked up by the law enforcing agencies, who is eye-witness of the occurrence and tortured him so he will not say or disclose that the law enforcing agencies picked up the victim Salauddin Ahmed. 
4. That is is stated that the petitioner's husband is picked up by the law enforcing agency on 10.03.2015 without any connection with criminal case and without any warrant of arrest of competent couts. The said news has been published in the different newspaper the following days. 
5. That the personal assistant of the victim Salauddin Ahmed, namely Osman Goni, driver Shafique and Khokon were arrested from their respective house on 07.03.2015 but police forwarded them before the Magistrate on 10.03.2015. The law enforcing agencies knowing information from them picked up Salauddin Ahmed on 10.03.2015 at about 10.30, the owner of the house from where Salauddin Ahmed  picked up said over mobile to the petitioner that the law enforcing agencies members picked up Salauddin Ahmed on 10.03.2015 at about 10.30 PM and as such it is needed to direct upon the opposite parties to form a high power judicial inquiry body headed by a retired justice for finding our/produce the petitioner's husband Salah Uddin Ahmed before the court to be dealt with according to law.
Wherefore it is most humbly prayed that your Lordships may graciously be pleased: 
A: To issue a further Rule calling upon the opposite parties to show cause as to why the opposite parties should not be directed to form a high powered judicial body headed by a retired justice for finding out and under what circumstances the petitioner's husband Salah Uddin was abducted and who was responsible for abducting him and to submit the report before this Hon'ble court for taking appropriate action/step in the matter to be dealt with according to law 
B. Pending hearing of the further rule, your Lordships further be pleased to direct upon the opposite parties to form a high power judicial inquiry body headed by a retired Justice for finding out and under what circumstances the petitioner's husband Salah Uddin Ahmed was abducted and who are responsible for abducting him and to submit the report before this Hon'ble Court for taking appropriate action/step in the matter to be dealt with according to law 
C. Upon perusal and cause shown, if any, and after hearing both the parties make the resul absolute 
D. and/or pass such other or further order or orders as to your lordship may seem fit and proper.