Call for Swift Action Against Torturers of Journalist in Bangladesh

The

International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is shocked that personnel of an

elite Bangladeshi armed guard raided the home of journalist F.M. Masum in Dhaka on October 22, brutally assaulted him and then took

him to their headquarters and continued the torture for close to 10 hours.

 

“The IFJ condemns

this inhuman act by the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB). We begin to suspect the

battalion has been consistently abusing the special powers it has for fighting

organised crime and terrorism to crush all dissent and critical opinion,” IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.

 

According

to media reports and information from IFJ partners, Masum was picked up from

his apartment when RAB personnel raided a neighbour’s home in connection with

an investigation into an alleged drug trading ring.

 

Masum was

physically assaulted as he opened his door. When he identified himself, the

violence only escalated.

 

After

inflicting considerable physical injury on Masum, the RAB personnel reportedly

took him to their headquarters where he was subjected to systematic torture.

 

Masum, a

correspondent with the English-language daily New Age, was reportedly

told that he was being dealt with in retaliation for the editorial postures

taken by his editor, Nurul Kabir, a widely respected journalist and intellectual.

 

New Age has been

known to take a critical stance on current political themes, including during two

years of “emergency” rule which ended late last year.

 

RAB units

have earlier been implicated in the torture and ill-treatment of a young and

courageous journalist, Jahangir Alam Akash, in October 2007.

 

“We

welcome the public expressions of regret for the latest atrocity from the top

echelons of the RAB command structure and the Bangladesh Government, but expect

that proper recompense will be rendered Masum and appropriate punishment

imposed on those guilty for his torture,” Park said.

 

For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0919

 

The IFJ

represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries