31st March 2017
Sub: End forced disappearances in Bangladesh
“We write to express our serious concern about the large number of forced disappearances taking place in Bangladesh in the last few years, in particular, the case of Bangladesh barrister Mr. Ahmad Bin Quasem” wrote the chairman of Citizens International Mohamed Idris, in his letter the president of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Mr Saber Chowdhury MP.
More than 200 people have been forcefully disappeared since 2009 and Bin Quasem is one of three sons of former politicians who were abducted at around the same time.
IPU is holding its 136th Assembly in Dhaka from 1-5 April 2017. Parliamentarians, including 53 Speakers of Parliament, will be taking part in the meeting. Malaysia’s delegation includes YB Wee Ka Siong, YB Husni Hanazlah, YB Nurul Izzah, YB Shamsul Iskandar, YB Dato Johari Abdul, YB Senator Haji Yunus Kurus and YB Dr Mohd Nor Manuty.
Bin Quasem was abducted by members of Bangladesh’s Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) on 9th August 2016 around 11 at night while he was with his wife and two daughters in his apartment. He was, then, representing his father facing criminal charges before the notorious Bangladesh International Crimes Tribunal. His whereabouts are unknown and a police report filed by his wife has brought no results. It is feared that he is being tortured.
Bin Quasem has not been charged with any offence and his abduction and continued detention by the security apparatus is in violation of the Bangladeshi Constitution and international law.
On 24 February 2017, the Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances called on Bangladesh to ‘act now to halt an increasing number of enforced disappearances in the country’ and to immediately reveal the whereabouts of Bin Quasem and his fellow detainees Humam Chowdhury and Brigadier General Al Azmi. The call has been endorsed by United Nations Rapporteurs.
IPU’s Statutes declare that it will “contribute to the defence and promotion of human rights, which are universal in scope and respect for which is an essential factor of parliamentary democracy and development”.
Mohamed Idris called on the IPU President to live up to its declaration by moving a resolution at the Assembly calling on the Bangladesh government to end the increasing number of enforced disappearances in the country and to immediately release Bin Quasem and other detainees. He has also called on the Malaysian delegation to raise the issue of forced disappearances in the meeting and to get the above resolution adopted.
S.M. Mohamed Idris
Chairman, Citizens International