Bangladesh security forces 'kneecapping' members, supporters of opposition parties: Human Rights Watch

The Human Rights Watch report released today includes evidence from 25 individuals, mostly members and supporters of the opposition Bangladesh Nationa Photograph:( Getty )

Reuters Dhaka Sep 29, 2016, 06.08 AM (IST)

Human Rights Watch published a report today accusing Bangladesh security forces of shooting detainees in custody in the name of self-defence. 


The 45-page report titled "'No Right to Live': 'Kneecapping' and Maiming of Detainees by Bangladesh Security Forces," cites 25 victims who have been shot in their legs. 


Many have lost their legs as they had to be amputated. The report also claims they were beaten up after getting shot. 


The victims have been quoted as saying that they were shot without any provocation by the police. Most of them are members of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and Jamaat-e-Islami. 


"Security forces in Bangladesh have long killed detainees in fake ‘crossfire killings,’ pretending the victim was killed when the authorities took him back to the scene of the crime and were attacked by one of his accomplices," HRW's Asia director, Brad Adams said.


Adams compares Bangladesh's forces actions with the Irish Republican Army which was known for kneecapping political prisioners in custody. 


The victims are afraid of being identified as it would lead to arrests, torture and even death. According to the report, this is a common occurance in Bangladesh, where opposition party members are silenced. 


One of the victims spoke to HRW, Mahbub Kabir who worked in the Naya Diganta's (newspaper) marketing department was threatened by the officer for speaking out. 


"I have shot in your leg. If you speak out, then next time I will shoot in your eyes," Kabir quoted the officer saying. 


The Rights' organisation has called on the Bangladesh government to stop 'kneecapping' and asked for a joint investigation with the "United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and UN special rapporteurs on torture and extrajudicial executions."


Adams has also blamed Bangladesh Prime Minister's government for taking no action against this abuse and that it has become worse since she came to power. 


The "government (Bangladesh) has infinite tolerance for state-sanctioned violence," he added. 


Hasina has maintained that she has "zero tolerance for extrajudicial killings or violence". 


Another victim, Hyder, 20, shot in March 2015 said "I just named two of my friends because I wanted the beating to stop. Then we stopped at a field and they blindfolded me. I had no idea what they were doing and I was shouting. They pushed me on the ground. And then they shot me. I was conscious. I heard one of them say, 'Shoot again.' Then another person said, 'No need.'"


According to the report, 'kneecapping' began in 2013 as means of stopping people from taking to the streets and protesting. 


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