290 tortured, 71 killed in custody since 2009: Odhikar
At least 290 people were tortured by law enforcers in custody and 71 of them were tortured to death across the country from January 2009 to May 2013.
Rights organisation Odhikar revealed the information at a discussion meeting on Wednesday that urged people to wage a movement against torture and enforced disappearance.
Odhikar organised the discussion was organised marking the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture at BIAM Foundation in the capital.
The day is observed annually on June 26 to raise voice against the crime of torture and to support victims and survivors throughout the world.
At the discussion, Odhikar secretary Adilur Rahman Khan presented a paper and said that torture was now a very simple thing to the law enforcing agencies.
Article 35(5) of the constitution banned any kind of torture, said Adilur adding that Bangladesh ratified the United Nations Convention against Torture in 1998 and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in 2000.
He said that following the direction of the constitution and as a signatory of United Nations Convention against Torture, the country should formulate law against torture and take effective measure to stop torture in custody.
Former Dhaka University Central Students Union vice-president Mahmudur Rahman Manna, also Nagarik Oikya Parishad convenor, said that instead of making law to stop torture, the law makers were busy in hurling abuses in the parliament.
He criticised Awami League president Sheikh Hasina and Bangladesh Nationalist Party chairperson Khaleda Zia for not stopping their lawmakers from using such bad words in the parliament.
BRAC University professor Piash Karim slammed National Human Rights Commission chairman Mizanur Rhamna for asking Limon for withdrawing the case his mother had filed against Rapid Action Battalion for shooting the college student causing his left leg to be amputated.
The European Union ambassador to Bangladesh, William Hanna, stressed making the people aware against torture.
Socialist Party of Bangladesh leader Razekuzzaman Ratan, Communist Party of Bangladesh leader Ruhin Hossain Prince, Dhaka Union of Journalists former president Shahjahan Mia, Ain o Salish Kendra director (investigation) Md Nur Khan and Bangladesh Alliance against Torture Goutam Das also spoke.
Earlier, in the morning, Odhikar organised a token tribunal against torture where former Supreme Court judge Syeda Afsar Jahan, former secretary Humayun Kabir and Nagarik Odhikar Rakkha Committee convenor Farhad Mazhar were present as juries.
Odhikar also organised different programmes including human chairns, rallies and processions in different district headquarters marking he day.