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>HR worsens under emergency

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>THE US Department of State in its annual report “Human Rights Practices 2007” on Bangladesh reveals that human rights record worsened in the country as the state of emergency continued to be in effect with elections remaining postponed. (US State Department report on Bangladesh)
The report mentions the arrests of former premiers Awami League (AL) chief Sheikh Hasina and BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia after repeated efforts of the caretaker government in the first six months since assuming power to force the two into exile failed.
The two former premiers were kept under unofficial house arrest during this period, it adds.
The report says both Hasina and Khaleda were denied fair public trial as “the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court frequently overturned politically charged decisions by the High Court Division of the Supreme Court if those rulings went against the government”.
Citing different human rights organisations, the report says “preventative and arbitrary detentions” increased after the declaration of the state of emergency, particularly after the anti-graft drive was launched, with the arrests of approximate 200 former politicians, government officials and business leaders on suspicion of corruption, extortion and other power abuse.
The report adds that in many cases the suspects were arrested without having any formal charges or arrest warrants against them and kept in custody or taken to unknown places or at military cantonment either for having confessional statements on some issues under severe physical and psychological torture or to extract information about other suspects.
It said the government in many cases filed politically motivated and false cases.
(Read The Daily Star report)

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