Detained BDR troopers didn’t commit suicide: Rights body

April 26th, 2009 - 12:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, April 26 (IANS) New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) has disputed the Bangladesh government’s claim that 16 Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) troopers, who were detained for their suspected role in the February mutiny, have committed suicide.
“Given the history of abuse by security forces in Bangladesh, there is no reason to take at face value the claim that these detainees have committed suicide,” said Brad Adams, HRW’s Asia director.

“The government needs to act immediately to make sure that there are no more deaths in custody,” he said Saturday, adding that the watchdog has received reports of detainees being tortured. The allegations have been denied by the Bangladeshi authorities.

“The explanations given by the representatives of the security forces are simply not credible,” Adams was quoted as saying in New Age newspaper Sunday.

“Torture is a regular investigation technique in Bangladesh and killing of detainees in government custody is an endemic problem,” Adams said.

Stating that the BDR personnel came under the home ministry, the HRW had earlier urged that they be tried in civil, rather than military, court.

“To try border guards before a military tribunal would be violation of both domestic and international laws,” Adams said in the statement.

Adams was doubtful about a fair trial by the military court in an environment where the army was seeking retribution.

Fifty-five army officers on deputation to BDR were among the 81 people killed during the Feb 25-26 rebellion. The revolt by the border guards took place over low wages and poor working conditions.

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