Statement

Denouncing the Unjust Imprisonment of Bangladeshi Human Rights Advocates

The South Asian Policy Initiative (SAPI) vehemently denounces the recent verdict handed down on 14 September 2023 by a Bangladesh court, which sentenced renowned Bangladeshi human rights advocates Adilur Rahman Khan and ASM Nasiruddin Elan to a two-year prison term.This decision not only constitutes a flagrant violation of their basic human rights but also underscores a disturbing pattern of suppressing the voices that advocate for justice, freedom, and equality in Bangladesh under the current regime.

Khan and Elan documented the tragic deaths of 61 individuals during the 5 May 2013 Shapla Massacre. That night, Bangladeshi law enforcement agencies mercilessly killed civilians in a rally of protesters, primarily composed of students and educators from Islamic educational institutions, peacefully demonstrating against religious defamation. Rather than being celebrated for their exceptional humanitarian endeavours through their human rights organisation ‘Odhikar’, the Bangladeshi government has chosen to subject them to this punitive sentence through a compromised judiciary.

Statement Protesting the Arrest of Elderly Woman in Bangladesh after Son’s Facebook Post

The South Asian Policy Initiative is deeply troubled by the recent events surrounding the arrest of Anisa Siddika, a 60-year-old woman from the Khulna district of Bangladesh, following her son’s Facebook post. The incident, which occurred on 20 August 2023, raises serious concerns about the state of freedom of expression and government tactics in the country.

Ms. Siddika’s arrest is characteristic of the deteriorating state of civil liberties and the alarming erosion of free expression in Bangladesh. The circumstances of her apprehension, without a warrant or specific charges, are disconcerting and suggest a disregard for due process and human rights. The subsequent invocation of the Special Powers Act to detain her further highlights the extent to which authorities can wield broad powers to suppress dissenting voices.

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