Widow witnessed the silent genocide by Rapid Action Battalion (RAB)
In an interview with Asian Human rights commission Mrs. Mahfuza Akter
expressed her life struggle for justice and peace.Mrs. Mahfuza Akter,
is a widow at the age of 23 with two children aged 4 years and 10
months respectively. She is the wife of Mr. Mohiuddin Arif, who was
illegally arrested and arbitrarily detained by the Rapid Action
Battalion (RAB) in January 2010. Arif was brutally tortured while in
detention in the custody of the RAB-4 and the Pallabi Police of the
Dhaka Metropolitan Police. At one stage Arif was taken to his home and
tortured in front of his family, including his wife and parents He
succumbed to his injuries while in detention on February 3, 2010.
Mahfuza expressed her views regarding the law-enforcement system of
Bangladesh in an interview with the Asian Human Rights Commission
AHRC : What do you think about the policing system in your country?
Mrs. Mahfuza Akter : The word Police is a synonym for lawlessness and
brutality. The police are the most dangerous of people. They can and
do anything for money.
AHRC : What do you think of the use of torture?
Mrs. Mahfuza Akter : My husband, Mohiuddin Arif, was arrested by the
RAB and brutally tortured in our home in front of me. We had faith in
the law up to the level that the law-enforcers cannot do anything
beyond the law and they will return him to us. But, instead, the RAB
tortured my husband badly and handed over him to the police. The
police did not take any initiative in providing medical treatment to
save my husband's life. Even in jail he was not afforded any care.
When he was taken to the Dhaka Medical College Hospital, proper
medical treatment was denied him. All of the officials, who work in
the RAB, the police department and the hospital, are responsible for
killing my husband.
Only the Asian Human Rights Commission stood beside our family after
the torture and death of my husband. Now, the government has set up an
enquiry committee. It is comprised of three persons – an officer of
the Ministry of Home Affairs, a police officer and a lawyer. But, in
fear of the RAB, witnesses, who have been regularly intimidated by
them, do not want to speak out and disclose the real truth. The truth
is that the RAB tortured and killed my husband. They are murderers,
not protectors of the law at all!
AHRC : What are your views on public relations with the police?
Mrs. Mahfuza Akter : Ordinary people do not have good relations with
the police. Only criminals have good relations with the police. If you
do not give them bribe money, they will torture people or even kill
people in the name of crossfire.
AHRC : If you have a problem these days would you go to the police station?
Mrs. Mahfuza Akter : Because of the brutal actions of the RAB and the
police I am finished. I have lost my husband and that is the great
harm that the RAB and police did to me and my family. I am a widow.
Now what I will do with my two children? How I will feed them? Every
day my mental suffering is compounded. I do not see any hope for
justice anywhere in this country. There is no law that protects poor
people like me. We will not get justice while the RAB enjoys impunity.
Their actions are above the law of the land. If I talk out anymore,
they can easily kill me like they killed my husband.
AHRC's issued an Urgent Appeal regarding the custodial death of
Mohiuddin Arif can be seen: AHRC-UAC-019-2010.