Widow witnessed the silent genocide by Rapid Action Battalion (RAB)

By William Gomes
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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).
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.