‘Adequate compensation needed from state fund for torture victims’
Speakers at a views exchange meeting today underscored the need to allocate adequate compensation from the state fund for torture victims and their families.
"The damage caused by the death of a person due to torture cannot in any way be recovered with money. Therefore, legal protection is needed for sufficient compensation from the state for the victims' families," said ZI Khan Panna, a Supreme Court lawyer and member of trustee board of Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST).
He said this while speaking at a virtual views exchange meeting organised by the leading rights organisation on the occasion of International Day in Support of Victims of Torture 2021 to be observed tomorrow (June 26).
ZI Khan Panna said, "If we don't come forward to move cases against the violation of laws, the torture victims will never get relief".
BLAST's Honorary Executive Director Sara Hossain said, "Our constitution has ensured the rights to get release from torture. Besides, we have got some specific laws and verdicts from courts in line with the constitutional provisions concerned. But the real picture is contrary to this.
"In this respect, we have to courageously come forward by changing our mindset of remaining silent and retreating," she said.
Sara Hossain said physicians have a very important role to play in order to ensure whether torture has taken place while victims were in custody.
"There is the Istanbul Protocol in the international arena to this effect, but doctors of Bangladesh are not familiar with this issue," she added.
Imtiaz Hossain Rocky, brother of Ishtiaq Hossain Jonny, who was tortured to death in police custody in 2014, told the online meeting that his whole family has become inactive after his brother's death.
"The government should give compensation to such families and therefore, a state fund needs to be created for this purpose," he said.
Limon Hossain, who lost a leg after being shot by Rapid Action Battalion members in 2011, told the meeting that the torture victims lose patience and become frustrated facing hurdles in moving cases.
Dr Manisha Chakrabarty, who was a victim of police torture to establish rights of working class people, BLAST's Research Expert Takbir Huda, SC lawyer Md Abdul Halim, BLAST's legal adviser Rezaul Karim, human rights activists Nur Khan Litan and lawyer Tajul Islam also spoke on the occasion, a BLAST press release said.
Citing an information from rights organisation Ain O Salish Kendra, BLAST said in the press release that a total of 30 persons have become victims of extrajudicial killing and custodial death since January to May this year even though the Torture and Custodial Death (Prevention) Act was formulated in 2013.