Target: President Abdul Hamid
Goal: Release Human Rights Defender Adilur Rahman Khan
Adilur Rahman Khan is a prominent human rights defender in Bangladesh, who was arrested in his home without warrant. His crime was misinforming the general public about human rights abuse conducted by the government. His arrest comes from the detective branch, which is notorious for beating and torturing their inmates.
Khan is the director of Odhikar, one of Bangladesh’s leading human rights organizations, and he is also a lawyer. He has long suspected that the government would arrest him for political reasons, but wishes to stay in the country so he can continue to do his work. Khan is being held without bail, even though he is not considered a flight risk and will remain in his cell for five days before his first hearing. Activists suspect that his arrest is meant to silent Khan from criticizing candidates for the upcoming election.
Khan’s crime is misinforming the public about the human rights abuse committed by the government. He believes that the numbers the government reported injured in the Islamist Hefazat-e-Islami movement were incorrect; there were far more people hurt. His computers at Odhikar’s office were seized shortly after Khan’s arrest for evidence. A report issued by Human Rights Watch titled “Blood on the Streets: The Use of Excessive Force During Bangladesh Protest” details that security forces did use an unnecessary amount of force against protesters. Some police officers did follow standard procedures, but there were others who used excessive violence, leaving 50 people dead and 200 more wounded.
Despite the figures, Bangladesh should be willing to debate with Khan about this issue, not throw him in jail. Activists are concerned about his well being, since it is highly likely Khan will be tortured while he is held prisoner. Sign this petition and urge his immediate release from jail.
Dear President Abdul Hamid,
I implore you to release human rights defender Adilur Rahman Khan from prison. I realize that his crime is misinforming the public about human rights abuse, but this is a topic that could be debated. Khan does not need to be sentenced to jail. The man runs his own human rights organization, one of the most prominent in the country. He has has no ill will towards the nation, he only wishes to ensure that the public is well informed. It is also unfair that his arrest came without a warrant and it is deeply concerning how likely it is he will be tortured while he is a prisoner. This arrest is only fueling the people’s fear. If the government is willing to arrest a human rights activist, then what will they do next?
Adilur Rahman Khan is a brave man. He has long suspected his arrest and still remains in the country to do his work. He deserves to continue working as a free man.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Max Bardus via Jimonitor