Target: Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh
Goal: End arbitrary arrests and intimidation of opposition members following elections
Nearly a week after Bangladesh’s election, opposition leaders and supporters are still subject of intimidation and arbitrary arrest by police. Following months of violent political demonstrations and arrests, some activists and politicians have been forced into hiding for fear of detainment.
In the months leading up to the January 5 election, political demonstrations turned violent in city streets. Most of the violence was incited by supporters of the opposing Bangladesh Nationalist Party, prompting a blanket crackdown on all supporters, leaders, and members of the BNP.
Just days before the election, opposition leaders were detained for their accused roles in violent opposition demonstrations. Some leaders, including the former Prime Minister Moudud Ahmed, were charged with inciting violence at Bangladesh Nationalist Party protests. Their lawyer, also a BNP supporter, was arrested a short time after a bail hearing for one of the accused. Another former Prime Minister, Khaleda Zia, had her home surrounded by security officials that would not let anyone enter or exit.
Hundreds of opposition members have been arrested and detained on arbitrary charges and without evidence. The crackdown on violence, while lawful and necessary in some cases, has become a tool to intimidate critics and weaken political dissent. As a self-proclaimed democratic party, the currently ruling Awami League must put an immediate end to police intimidation. Your signature will demand a legitimate investigation into political violence without blanket-arrests and intimidation by officials.
Dear Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh
Violence during political opposition demonstrations in Bangladesh has sparked a harsh police crackdown on many opposition leaders and supporters. Some party leaders have been forced to stay inside their homes by security officials, while others were arrested and charged for their purported roles in inciting violence at protests. Hundreds of party activists and members have been taken into custody and detained on arbitrary charges without evidence.
While some of these actions were appropriate, officials have used the crackdown as a tool to silence critics and quell dissent. Many of the arrests are baseless, made without warrants or mentions in police reports, where police have no evidence to substantiate their charges. As a so-called democratic party, the Awami League must immediately free all political prisoners and respect the right to peaceful protest and personal political belief.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Jingo of Bangladesh via Creative Commons