On August 10, 2013 Adilur Rahman Khan, a prominent activist from Bangladesh was arbitrarily arrested at his home by Detective Branch police forces. Mr. Rahman Khan is the Secretary of the Bangladeshi human rights organization Odhikar. When his wife went to the Gulshan Police Station the following day, the agents denied any knowledge regarding his whereabouts or situation.
However Mr. Rahman Khan was brought to the Magistrate Court that afternoon with a complaint lodged against him by the Detective Branch of the police force showing that he had been arrested under section 54 of the Criminal Procedural Code with the date of his arrest logged in on August 10th. The Dhaka Metropolitan Police subsequently confirmed the arrest to the media, adding that Mr. Adilur Rahman Khan has been arrested under the Information and Communication Technology Act.
At the court session the Magistrate, Mr. Amit Kumar De went against normal procedures for a 10-day remand period for questioning and instead only granted 5 days. As a result Adilur Rahman Khan’s lawyers submitted a written request to the High Court Division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh challenging the lower court order.
During the Supreme Court session his attorney Khalilur Rahman requested a day for preparations but was denied due to what was classified as a matter of urgency. On August 13, the court session was held for Mr. Adilur Rahman Khan with his lawyer requesting a “division” at the Dhaka Central Jail in the accordance with the country’s Jail Codes. A “division” is separate areas reserved for inmates who are educated or not criminal offenders. The petition was rejected by the Magistrate and Adilur Rahman Khan was sent to Dhaka Central Jail and later transferred to Kashimpur jail where he is being held.
Adilur Rahman Khan who is a high-profile human rights activist was allegedly arrested due to a report by his organization Odhikar about the killing of 61 Hifazet-e Islam activists by law-enforcement agents during a protest on May 5, 2013 in the downtown Motiheel area. Odhikar is a leading human rights watchdog, which is outspoken against state abuses. The human rights activist is well known for covering human rights violations by security forces in his country. The Bangladeshi government denies the allegations and defends its actions against those it deems as spreading anti-government propaganda.
A number of international human rights groups and governments have condemned the arbitrary arrest of Adilur Rahman Khan, demanding his immediate release. In a statement, Brad Adams the Asia director at Human Rights Watch said, “the arrest of Adilur Khan appears to be an attempt to silence one of the Bangladeshi government’s most vocal critics prior to national elections.” Human rights organizations have expressed their grave concern that Adilur Rahman Khan could be tortured in custody and that his arrest was an attempt to instill fear and silence other activists.