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Human rights activist arrested in Bangladesh: letter to Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has written an official letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs requesting the Ministry to initiate a diplomatic intervention concerning the arrest of a human rights defender in Bangladesh, Adilur Rahman Khan.

The arrested activist is Secretary of Odhikar, a local human rights organisation, and a member of the General Assembly of the World Organisation Against Torture. Adilur Rahman Khan was unlawfully detained on 10 August by Bangladeshi police for allegedly publicising falsified photographs and disturbing the peace.

Odhikar has recently published a report on the violation of human rights during one of the Islamic gatherings that were held in Bangladesh in May 2013. The organisation also refused to provide the Bangladeshi Ministry of Information with data of the families of the victims described in the report. “We fear that Khan’s arrest was closely linked to these events”, says Adam Bodnar, HFHR Deputy President.

In the letter, the HFHR also refers to the European Parliament’s Resolution from 14 March 2013 on the situation in Bangladesh [2013/2561(RSP)] in which the Parliament “calls upon the government of Bangladesh to redouble efforts to restore the rule of law and order in a fair and impartial way” and reminds the Bangladeshi Government about its obligation to adhere strictly to all of its international human rights commitments.

“If the MFA, through its diplomatic channels, decided to intervene in this matter, it would not only be consistent with the spirit of the Resolution of the European Parliament, but also show that the human right domain is a significant element of Polish diplomacy”, adds Dr. Adam Bodnar.

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