31st March 2017
Mr. Saber Chowdhury MP
Dear Mr. Chowdhury
Sub: Release Bin Quasem and other detainees
We write to express our serious concern about the large number of enforced disappearances taking place in Bangladesh in the last few years, in particular, the case of Bangladesh barrister Mr. Ahmad Bin Quasem. 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.
As the president of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, an organisation committed to promoting democracy and human rights, we urge you to raise this issue during the 136th IPU Assembly to be held in Dhaka from 1-5 April 2017 and to pass a resolution calling for an end to forced disappearances and for the release of Bin Quasem and others who are being illegally detained by Bangladesh’s security apparatus.
You must be aware that 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”.
We call on you to live up to IPU’s 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.
Kindly let us have a reply.
Chairman, Citizens International