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Families of disappeared still waiting !

Written By: Nazmul
23/12/2017 11:34
Human Rights Violation

Disappearing people has now become a well known practice undertaken by Bangladesh law enforcement agencies - a systematic technique by which a person is secretly detained for varying periods of time totally outside the law, their whereabouts unknown with the state denying any knowledge of the person.

After spending a period of time in secret detention - usually weeks or months - there are four possible outcomes:

  • the person is killed. In 2016, out of over 90 disappeared, 21 were killed; In 2017, out of about 80 disappeared, 7 so far have been killed
  • the person is simply released on the streets. This happens, but it unusual
  • the person is taken to the court and 'formally arrested' with the police concocting a story that they were arrested the previous day. They are then, "legally", sent to jail. This is what happens to most people.
  • the person remains disappeared. In 2016, out of over 90 disappeared, 8 remain missing; In 2017, out of about 80 disappeared, 28 remain missing

The people picked up and secretly detained fall into a number of categories of people. There are:

- those that are linked to opposition politics, sometimes at a senior level;

- those the authorities suspect, rightly or wrongly, are involved in militancy in some way;

- those who for one political reason or the other, it is useful for the state to secretly detain;

- those involved in conflict within the Awami League;

- those involved in other kinds of private conflicts where one of the parties to the conflict has the power to obtain the use of a law enforcement agency to do his bidding;

The pick ups are primarily undertaken by the Detective Branch of the Police, the Counter Terrorism Unit (which has emerged out of the DB), or by the para-military organisation, the Rapid Action Battalion - though RAB's involvement seems to be declining in recent years. The ordinary police are also involved, as are sometimes the country's intelligence agencies in particular the country's military intelligence agency, DGFI.

The government has, it seems, informally given law enforcement authorities a general green light to carry out secret detentions in certain circumstances. There are however a few undertaken at a low level which are outside of any authorisation, and many others (particularly those involving more high profile subjects) done with specific high level governmental authorisation.

To read more about disappearances in Bangladesh, see the recent Human Rights Watch report

Picked up in last two years, continued to be disappeared
Below are the details of 36 people allegedly picked up by Bangladesh law enforcement authorities since 2016 who remain disappeared - that is to say they have not yet been released, "formally arrested", or their dead body has not been found.

In effect, what this means is that Bangladesh state authorities are either secretly detaining or have killed them.

The information below is based on media news reports, and information from human rights organisations and in some cases direct interviews with families. It is very likely that are more people who are disappeared - but whose cases have not been reported.


Please note that it is not uncommon for men, who have been picked up to subsequently be shown arrested after some time, so this is an ever-changing situation. If you have any further information on these or other enforced disappearances in Bangladesh, please e-mail Bangladesh Politico


Maroof Zaman
Picked up on 4 December 2017

Maroof Zaman, a former Bangladeshi ambassador to Qatar and Vietnam, went missing on 4 December 2017 when he drove to Dhaka airport to pick up his daughter. Subsequently, masked men entered the family house and took away his computer.


Picked up on November 15, 2017
Masum, a madrasa student, was picked up in Jhenhaidah on November 15, 2017 by men who identified themselves as police officers.

Mubashar Hasan
Picked up on November 7, 2017
Mubashar Hasan, an academic, was picked in Dhaka soon after leaving at meeting at the UN headquarter son November 7, 2017 allegedly by members of the military intelligence agency.
Picked up on November 5, 2017
Jahangir Hossain the general secretary of Dynna union unit of the youth wing of the Awami League was picked up outside the court premises in Tangail on November 5, 2017 by men introducing themselves as from the detective branch. 
Abdus Salam Tarafder 
Picked up on September 16, 2017
Abdus Salam Tarafder was picked up from his house in Khulna on September 16, 2017 by men who identified themselves as from RAB. Another man, picked up at the same time, was released after ten day. Police claim that Tarafdar is a ‘listed criminal’.
10, October, 2017 Jugantor

Abdul Jabbar
Picked up on September 4, 2017
Abdul Jabbar, a student, was picked upon from his house in Satkhira on September 4, 2017 by men identifying themselves as police
Picked up on August 27, 2017
Aminur Rahman, the secretary general of the Bangladesh Kalyan Party, which is part of the opposition alliance was allegedly picked up on August 27 by law enforcement authorities in Dhaka 
Picked up on 22 August 2017
Syed Sadat Ahmed, the managing director of ABN Group and a member of the executive committee of Bangladesh Nationalist Party was picked up by law enforcement officers on 22 August in Dhaka

Sohel Khan
Picked up on July 17, 2017 
Sohel Khan, the General Secretary of youth wing of Awami League of Chingrakhali union in Bagherat was picked up by RAB on July 17, 2017

Abdullah Al Faruq
Picked up on July 18, 2017

Abdullah Al Faruq, a student activist of the Awami League was picked up in Rajshai on July 18 by men who identified themselves as from the Rapid Action Battalion.

Azizul Haque Daud and Omor Faruk Mohon
Picked up on June 17, 2017Two men - Azizul Haque Daud and Omor Faruk Mohon - both activists of the youth wing of the opposition BNP, were picked up in Feni by a group of police officers on June 17, 2017

Abdul Mannan , Shomsher Fakir and Johurul Islam
Picked up on June 12, 2017
Thee men - Abdul Mannan , Shomsher Fakir and Johurul Islam – all furniture businessmen, were picked up on 12 June in Tangail by men who identified themselves as law enforcement officers.
Prothom Alo, 20 June, 2017

Mohammad Siddiqur Rahman Nahid
Picked up on June 9, 2017
Mohammad Siddiqur Rahman Nahid, Assistant General Secretary of Narsingdi Government College unit of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party was picked up on 9 June by about 10 men identifying themselves as law enforcement officers

Enamul Huq
Picked up on June 6, 2017
Enamul Huq, a mechanic, was picked up in Dhaka on June 6, 2017 by over 15 men who identified themselves as law enforcement officers.
Prothom Alo 13 June 2017

Seven men
Picked up between May 4 and 6, 2017
Seven men - Mohammad Titu Biswas, Abdul Latif, Mohammad Shaheen Zaman (22); Rana Ahmed (25) Monwar Hossain (32), Milon Biswas (17), Al-Amin (25), Mohammad Saheb Ali (42), Emon Hossain (17) - were picked up between May 4 and 6, 2017 from two Villages in Jhenaidah district apparently by law enforcement authorities.

Abdul Kuddus Pramanik
Picked up on 30 March 2017
Md. Abdul Kuddus Pramanik, a farmer, was picked up in Rajshai on 30 Mar 2017 by a group of men who introduced themselves as law enforcement officers.
Prothom Alo 1 April, 2017 

Shafikur Rahman
Picked up on 24 March 2017
SM Shafikur Rahman, 35, involved with a transportation business, and his brothers-in-law Md Hasan, 21, and Moazzem Hossain Sathi, 18 were picked up in Chittagong on March 24, 2017  by men who introduced themselves as law enforcement officers.

Shafiqul Islam Modhu
Picked up on 13 January 2017
Shafiqul Islam Modhu, an employee of Rangpur Karuponno Garment Company, was picked up in Rangpur on January 13, 2017 by law enforcement officers from the house of his father in law in front of his family.
Reported in Daily Manabzamin, on 8 February 2017

Hassan Ali
Picked up on 7 January 2017
Hassan Ali, who worked as a salesman for a clothes shops, was picked up in Dhaka on 7 Jan 2017 by plain clothes dressed men, one of whom was identified in CCTV footage as being from the Detective Branch of Police

Abdullahil Amaan Azmi
Picked up on 22 August, 2016
According to his family, Azmi was picked up on 22 August from his family house in Mogh Bazaar in Dhaka. Azmi is the son of Ghulam Azam, a Jamaat-e-Islami leader, who died in jail in 2014 after an earlier conviction for crimes against humanity during the country's 1971 independence war. Azmi was dismissed from the army in May 2009, five months after the Awami League government came to power.

Mir Ahmed Bin Quasem
Picked up on 9 August, 2016
According to his family, Quasem was picked up late at night on 9 August from his home in Mirpur in Dhaka. Ahmed is the son of Mir Quasem Ali, a Jamaat-e-Islami leader, who was executed on September 4 (whilst his son remained disappeared) following conviction for crimes committed during the country's independence war,

Yasin Mohammad Abdus Samad Talukdar
Family claim picked up on 14 July, 2016
According to his family, Yasin Mohammad Abdus Samad Talukdar, who has no political affiliation, was picked up on 14 July from the DOHS Benani railway crossing in Dhaka by law enforcement authorities, whom local people thought were from Rapid Action Batallion.
Kamrul Islam Sikdar Musa
Family claim picked up on 22 June, 2016
His wife claims that on 22 June, a group of plainclothes policemen went to the house of a friend in the Kathgar area of Chittagong where she and her family were then staying and arrested her husband, a sand trader who also sells bricks, close to the house. The police say that they are still trying to arrest Musa who is suspected of involvement in the killing of the wife of a senior police officer.
Bivas Sangma (25)
Family claim that picked up on 14 April, 2016
Bivas was a second year graduate student at Tinani Adarsha Degree College in Jhinaigati. His family members claim that sometime after 4:00 am on April 14, men who said that they were law enforcement officials, with some of them wearing RAB uniforms, came to their house and took Sangma away. He is related to Probhat Marak and Rajesh Marak who were picked up on the same day (see below)
Rajesh Marak (22)
Family claim that picked up on 14 April, 2016
The family of Rajesh, a student at a private university in Dhaka, says that her brother was picked up, by men claiming to be members of law enforcement agency, from his elder sister’s house located near Bhaluka College in Mymensingh.

Probhat Marak (60),
Family claim that picked up on 14 April, 2016
Family members claim that Probhat, a day labourer, was picked up in by law enforcement officers from his home in Gajni village in Sherpur. He is related to  Bivas Sangma and Rajesh Marak who were also picked up on the same day (see above)
Sheikh Mohammad Moyajjem Hossain Tapu (28)
Family claim picked up on 26 January, 2016
Tape was president of 22 Ward of student wing of the governing party the Awami League in Rampura in Dhaka and General Secretary of the student wing of Awami League of Rampura Police Station unit. His family claim that on January 26 at around 11.00 pm, men who identified themselves as DB police picked Tapu up from a flat in Bashundhara residential area, Dhaka.


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