312 disappearance cases in 4 months, increased torture of journalists
The freedom of speech and the right of citizens to express their own opinion in politics is constantly being eroded in the country. In the last four months, 312 cases of disappearance have been registered against BNP activists. Due to lack of freedom of expression, torture of journalists has increased. Non-governmental human rights organization Human Rights Culture Foundation (MSF) provided these data in their annual monitoring.
A press release signed by the organization’s founding president Sultana Kamal on Friday said that there were 312 ‘alleged disappearance cases’ against BNP leaders and workers from August 22 to December 29. In these cases, 8 thousand 486 people have been accused. The number of unidentified accused is 25 thousand 115 people. Among them, 1 thousand 309 leaders and activists of the party have been arrested. Many high level leaders including BNP Secretary General are under arrest. They are not even getting bail. Arrests are still ongoing. As a result, the freedom of speech and the right of citizens to express their own opinions in politics are being undermined.
The press release further states that in 2022 there has been virtually no significant progress in political and civil rights, above all human rights; Rather, the human rights situation has deteriorated in almost all cases. Political violence and gatherings have been curbed, disappearances and extrajudicial killings have not stopped, cases under the Torture of Journalists and Digital Security Act, and deaths in police custody and custody have increased.
It has been said about journalism and right of expression, the picture of this year was alarming in the field of journalism. Incidents of torture of journalists have increased compared to last year. A journalist named Mohiuddin Naeem was killed while performing his professional duties. 266 journalists have been tortured in various ways while performing their professional duties. Among the persons involved in the incident of torture and harassment of journalists are 39 leaders and activists of the ruling political party, 21 members of the law enforcement agencies, including 20 policemen. In addition, this year there were 82 cases under the Digital Security Act; 77 people have been arrested in these cases.
On the other hand, 50 people, including two children, were killed in election violence in 2022 and at least 1,541 people were injured in the violence.
Extrajudicial killings have not been stopped: Although human rights organizations have been vocal in stopping extrajudicial killings, the government has been denying the deaths in ‘crossfire’ or gunfights. According to information published in various media and collected by MSF, 22 incidents of crossfire or gunfights took place in 2022. One woman and 12 youths were killed. One soldier and three RAB members were injured. A woman and 13 youths were seriously injured in the shooting.
In addition to monitoring, several recommendations have been made to improve the country’s human rights situation, including playing a humane and sensitive role in suppressing political protesters without using excessive force, refraining from arrests in alleged disappearance cases and related cases, and protecting the freedom of the media.