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Govt urged to restore fundamental rights by lifting emergency PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 13 January 2008

Staff Correspondent

Violations of human rights, especially arbitrary detentions, custodial tortures, and extra-judicial killings, which had continued for the past one year of the military-backed government, should be stopped by lifting the state of emergency immediately and restoring the fundamental rights, said Odhikar on Friday.

The rights watchdog on the day released a report on the past one year under emergency, revealing a vulnerable rights situation in the country. It recommended establishing a human rights-friendly environment and releasing all political prisoners.

'Trials should be conducted respecting the human rights and ensuring the due process of law, in an open and transparent manner, to ensure justice,' the report says, urging the government to release the university teachers, students, and employees arrested in connection with the August 2007 campus protests and to stop intimidating the media.

'The government should release all the detained teachers, students, and employees who were held following the spontaneous August 2007 student uprising,' the report reads.

Odhikar also demanded withdrawal of legal cases filed against jute mill and garment workers for violating the emergency rules.

Blasting custodial tortures of the accused, including the corruption suspects, it said the arrested, on many occasions, were tortured into giving confessional statements while some were even threatened with death in 'crossfire'.

Some 176 people have reportedly been killed extra-judicially by law enforcement agencies in the past year, says the report.

'The manner of arrest and continued detention of university teachers and students raised concern that due process of law was not followed,' observes Odhikar, adding that their arrest without warrant and holding some of them incommunicado for nearly 40 hours at unknown locations before being produced before a court were serious violations of human rights under national and international laws.

Eviction of slum dwellers and street hawkers, lodging cases against numerous unnamed people, laying off of jute mills and termination and non-payment of their workers, censorship of the media, detention of Sidr victims, and repression of human rights defenders were all incidents of rights violation during the first year of the Fakhruddin Ahmed-led government, the Odhikar report adds.

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