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Bangladesh: Prominent writer and human rights campaigner abducted

The Bangladesh authorities must make every effort to trace the whereabouts of and recover a prominent writer who has been abducted and may have been subject to an enforced disappearance, Amnesty International said today.

Farhad Mazhar, a prominent columnist, poet and political analyst, was taken from outside his home at approximately 5am this morning by a group of unidentified people.

Half an hour later, his wife Farida Akhtar received a haunting phone call from Farhad, in which she says he told her: “They are taking me away, I’m afraid they will kill me.”

The motivation behind the abduction remains unclear but his family and friends remain concerned that he has been vocal about increasing restrictions on freedom of expression in Bangladesh among other issues of public concern.

Biraj Patnaik, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director, said:

“The Bangladesh authorities must make every effort to locate Farhad Mazhar, bring him back to safety and hold the perpetrators accountable.

“Far too many people have gone missing in Bangladesh over recent years without any further news of their fate. The government must end impunity for these abuses.”

Enforced disappearances have taken place at an alarming rate in Bangladesh over the past year, with the victims often belonging to opposition political parties.

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