SCBA may petition HC for probe
The Supreme Court Bar Association may take a legal move in April, seeking the High Court's order for investigation of extrajudicial killings that took place in the last five years' tenure of the ruling Awami League.
“We will pray to the High Court to pass an order on the government for constituting a high powered committee to investigate the incidents of deaths of people in law enforcers' custody since 2009,” newly elected SCBA President Khandker Mahbub Hossain told The Daily Star recently.
Also an adviser to BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, the veteran lawyer said the HC had issued at least three rules between 2006 and 2010, questioning the legality of such deaths.
“We will approach the High Court in April with a prayer for hearing and adjudicating one of the rules. If the court fixes any date for hearing a rule, we will move a petition seeking its directives on authorities to form the probe body and stop such incidents.”
In February, Mahbub told a press conference that 668 people had fallen victim to extrajudicial killings by law enforcers since 2009.
Of them, 229 people were killed in 2009, 133 in 2010, 100 in 2011, 91 in 2012, 71 in 2013, and 44 between January 1 and February 10 this year, he said, citing reports from different newspapers.
According to a study of rights organisation Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK), 1,002 people were killed in custody between 2004 and 2008. Citing newspaper reports, it said the tally was 141 in 2008, 115 in 2007, 258 in 2006, 354 in 2005, and 134 in 2004.
Mahbub, also vice chairman of Bangladesh Bar Council, said SCBA would urge the HC to ask the government to form the probe body, led by a Supreme Court judge, with representatives from Bangladesh Bar Council, Jatiya Press Club, and human rights bodies, and to make its report public within a short time.
He said they protested and condemned all custodial deaths even if they occurred before 2009. Any kind of extrajudicial killing, forced disappearance, and torture in custody is a violation of the constitution, rule of law, and human rights, he said.
However, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam said the number of extrajudicial killings had reduced as per media reports.
The authorities concerned are taking departmental actions against the law enforcers responsible for the incidents, he told The Daily Star, adding that no civilised government could support extrajudicial killings.