Armed squads roaming the streets committing murder- call the police! Oh hang on…
A new Amnesty report out today, paints a terrifying picture of armed groups roaming the streets of Bangladesh, killing at will. They’ve racked up a death toll of more than 200 since 2009 and they’ve gone unchallenged by police, primarily because… they are the police.
The chilling report, Crimes Unseen: Extra Judicial Execution in Bangladesh, focuses on the movements of the Rapid Action Battalion, known as the RAB.
Hardly a week goes by in Bangladesh without someone being shot by the RAB, with the authorities saying they were killed or injured in 'crossfire' or a 'gun-fight’. If the squad are deliberately executing criminals, then these are extra-judicial killings. Sometimes, the people who come under fire are bystanders, caught in the crossfire between two armed groups.
Limon Hossain, 16, was shot in the leg by RAB officers on 23 March this year. His injuries were so severe that he had to have both his legs amputated. At a press conference immediately after the incident, the director general of the RAB admitted: “Limon Hossain was not a notorious criminal but rather a victim of a shoot-out between the RAB and criminals.”
But RAB officials later backtracked on this, saying that the shooting had been justified, and that Limon was a member of a criminal gang. They claimed that the gang had opened fire first and that Limon had been hit when the RAB returned fire. Limon has consistently denied that he was a criminal or member of a criminal gang.Limon told Amnesty. “I want punishment if an impartial and independent investigation finds me guilty. If not, I want punishment for those who held me by the collar of my shirt before shooting me holding the gun against my leg.”
Investigations into the killings have never yet resulted in a prosecution. Read the report and find out more, here.
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