ASK concerned over ‘mass arrest’

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Ain O Salish Kendra (ASK) today expressed grave concerns over “mass arrest” of leaders and activists of opposition parties centring political programmes.

Citing media reports, the rights body claimed that law enforcers are arresting opposition leaders and activists indiscriminately on charges of preventing them from discharging duties, planning subversive activities.

Dhaka Metropolitan Police and Dhaka district police produced 431 people before different lower courts concerned on November 7. They were arrested over charges of attempting to sabotage and out of the 431, a total of 310 were remanded for interrogation. “It is feared that they were subject to mass arrest centering the rally of Jatiya Oikyafront,” ASK said in a statement.

“Such actions carried by the law enforcing agencies are contradictory to the Article 33 and Article of the Constitution of People's Republic of Bangladesh,” it said.

What are the provisions in Article 33:

a)  Right to be informed of the grounds for arrest/detention immediately;

b)  Right to consult and be defended by a legal practitioner of his/her choice;

c)  Right to be produced before the nearest magistrate within a period of 24 hours of arrest; and

d)  Right not to be detained in custody beyond the said period without the authority of a magistrate.

Whereas, Article 36 of the Constitution ensures freedom of movement of the citizens of the state.

ASK maintained that such behaviour of the law enforcing agencies will hinder democracy and practice of dissent and establishing rule of law.

ASK condemned and expressed concern over the spree of mass arrests and urged all concerned to refrain from taking such actions in order to establish democracy and rule of law.

ASK’s concerns came at a time when BNP, the major political opposition, today alleged that over 2,200 leaders and activists of the party were detained in the last three days.

2,200 arrests after PM’s promise: BNP

BNP's Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi today alleged that over 2,200 leaders and activists of BNP were detained in the last three days after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s promise of “no more political arrests”.

“PM Hasina promised Jatiya Oikyafront that political leaders and activists won’t be arrested anymore,” he said.

But, over 2,200 BNP leaders and activists were held countrywide centering Oikyafront’s rally on Tuesday in the last 72 hours, Rizvi alleged in a press briefing in Dhaka.