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Culture and society, Politics

Bangladesh denies torture in its custody

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina made the statement in an interview with the BBC.


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Updated: August 7, 2019

 

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said her government is never led by any intention to expose people to torture in custody as she was interviewed by British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in London.

“To tell you the truth, our government is never led by any intention to torture people in custody and it (government) also doesn’t do it (either),” she said.

Senior broadcast journalist at BBC World Service Manoshi Barua interviewed the premier when issues of Bangladesh economy, politics and social issues came up in course of discussion as well.

The premier’s comments on the custody issue came as Manoshi asked what steps the present government took to stop such tortures, which the journalist described as a legacy of subsequent governments.

“Incidentally some (one or two incidents) may happen . . . if you see our position in the last 10 years, we rather could take appropriate measures to control crimes,” Sheikh Hasina said.

Barua’s question was Bangladesh had a long history of custodial torture and it did not take place during any specific government and what steps the incumbent government took to overturn the phenomenon.

Shekh Hasina said there are some international rules to interrogate presumed and suspected criminals and her government was training law enforcement agency personnel in that regard sending them in countries like the United States and the UK.

“Information is gathered from the criminals using the methods the other countries practice and nothing is done beyond it,” she said.

The premier said right this moment incidents of custodial deaths appeared very rare the way it happened before while phenomenon of torture in custody also disappeared large.

Sheikh Hasina, however, reminded the BBC journalist that the past regimes virtually developed a culture of impunity and she herself was a victim of that situation after losing her parents, brothers and other near and dear ones in 1975.

“The killers were provided indemnity instead of exposing them to trial. that meant you (actually) entertained the culprits,” the premier said adding that it could be very difficult to check crimes in a country where a social system is built by recognising the crimes.

Sheikh Hasina said she had to wait for 35 years to get justice.

Again asked what initiative her government took to stop such culture, Sheikh Hasina said all “appropriate measures in this regard”.

Sheikh Hasina said Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was assassinated within three and a half years of independence and this culture continued for many years when military dictators ruled the country directly and often in the guise of politicians.

“This culture continued for years after years and it was a difficult task to bring back the country to a healthy trend . . . we performed that difficult task,” she said.

The prime minister said there a class or section of society still persisted which were spearheading a propaganda on the rights situation while democratic system runs the country.

“They always desperately try to find out our faults . . . as their status become elevated when an unconstitutional or abnormal government or martial law rules the country,” she said.

The premier said she knew that the question was raised in Geneva where Bangladesh law minister and other representatives were present.

“The law minister and others gave reply properly in this regard,” she said.



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Daily Star
About the Author: The Daily Star is a leading English-language daily newspaper in Bangladesh.

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