It was pleasing to see the news in the banglanews24.com that Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) transferred two police officers for their alleged involvement with torture following a High Court order. When a senior advocate drew attention of the court regarding torture of the grandson of the first premier of Bangladesh, the High Court directed the IGP and DMP Commissioner to transfer the police officer within the investigation period following a suo-moto rule.
Incidents of torture occur frequently in our country though all the incidents do not find a place in the newspaper. This time, a bench of High Court has taken this matter seriously when the learned lawyer brought the incident of alleged torture of Rakib Hasan before the court.
What are available remedies for victims of torture?
Torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading punishment against detainees are employed, despite constitutional guarantees against torture and Bangladesh`s ratification of the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
The government failed to investigate the causes of numerous deaths in custody, and there was little action to hold accountable those responsible for the deaths and torture in custody as observed by Human Rights Watch, an international human rights watch body.
HRW did not report in isolation. Amnesty International (AI) and other human rights organisations have reported incidents to torture too.
Torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. This definition of torture has been mentioned in the Convention Against Torture (CAT) and Bangladesh ratified the convention.
It has been illustrated in Article 13 of CAT, “Each State Party shall ensure that any individual who alleges he has been subjected to torture in any territory under its jurisdiction has the right to complain to, and to have his case promptly and impartially examined by, its competent authorities. Steps shall be taken to ensure that the complainant and witnesses are protected against all ill-treatment or intimidation as a consequence of his complaint or any evidence given”.
CAT goes further in the later article, “Each State Party shall ensure in its legal system that the victim of an act of torture obtains redress and has an enforceable right to fair and adequate compensation, including the means for as full rehabilitation as possible. In the event of the death of the victim as a result of an act of torture, his dependants shall be entitled to compensation”.
Apart from the Constitution of the People`s Republic of Bangladesh, no other law mentions the term `torture`. It has been stated in Article 35 (5) of the constitution, “No person shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman, or degrading punishment or treatment”. It is true that similar actions amounting to ‘torture’ has been described in the penal laws. However, human rights defenders have long been advocating to criminalise ‘torture’.
To recapitulate, the High Court has already asked the National Human Rights Commission to probe into the alleged police torture of Rakib Hasan. Civil liberty groups have larger expectation from this probe and the verdict delivered after trial. If specific direction is made to criminalise the act of torture, similar incident is unlikely to be repeated in the future.
2. Human Rights Watch
3. Reflections on Torture: denial or indifference? by Saira Rahman Khan
4. The Daily Sun, HC summons 5 cops for torturing Tajuddin’s grandson http://www.daily-sun.com/index.php?view=details&archiev=yes&arch_date=13-02-2012&type=daily-sun-news&pub_no=54&menu_id=1&news_type_id=1&news_id=10355
Oli Md. Abdullah Chowdhury is a human rights worker
BDST 1039 HRS, FEB 28, 2012
All rights reserved. Sale, redistribution or reproduction of information/photos/illustrations/video/audio contents on this website in any form without prior permission from banglanews24.com are strictly prohibited and liable to legal action.