NEW REPORT FINDS TORTURE ENDEMIC

Amnesty International Director of Communications Mark Lattimer said:

' Torture is an abomination and no Government should accept it as part of normal police practice. Only by bringing the torturers to justice can Bangladesh stamp out torture.'

Amnesty International has published the report 'Bangladesh: Torture and Impunity' as part of its Stamp out Torture campaign and is backing demands from Bangladeshi groups for the Government to take action to end the endemic use of torture.

The victims of torture in Bangladesh have included Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights, Children's rights and the elderly as well as criminal suspects. Methods of torture include savage beatings, hanging by the hands, rape, near-drowning with hoses, the use of pliers to crush fingers and electric shocks.

Scores of people have died in custody as a result of torture. One Bangladeshi human rights organization, Odhikar, puts the number at 49 from January to September 2000. The majority of cases involve torturing people to confess to a crime they didn't commit but torture can also be connected to crimes or complicity in crimes involving the police themselves.

In Dhaka, 81-year-old Sheikh Shahabuddin Ahmed, was tortured by police 7 July 1998. He was president of an association that worked against drugs and criminal activity. He said 'The criminal gangs were working directly with the police who came to arrest me saying I was stopping business activity in the area.' After seeking punishment of his torturers, he was told one had been dismissed, but that there would be no further action or compensation.

Amnesty International's report makes several recommendations to the Government of Bangladesh. These include; ensuring no law facilitates torture, that allegations of torture are investigated, that torturers are brought to justice, that police are trained in torture-free methods of interrogation and that victims are compensated.

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