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Saturday, October 24, 2009

[mukto-mona] FW: RAB Torture on New Age Reporter Alleged: Should Be Enquired



RAB Torture on New Age Reporter Alleged: Should Be Enquired

Daily NewAge Dhaka has alleged in its fromt page report that the Rapid Action Battalion(RAB) on Thursday had tortured severely New Age staff correspondent FM Masum keeping him in detention at the RAB 10 headquarters at Dhalpur in Dhaka for about 10 hours and a half. The battalion men picked Masum up from his rented house at Jatrabari in Dhaka at noon and severely tortured him in public.Masum was, however, released about 10:30pm reportedly after repeated interventions of the home minister and the home secretary, and he was  rushed in to the Dhaka Medical College Hospital for treatment.
   According to Masum and spot accounts, a battalion team raided the house at 67, Dakshin Jatrabai, where Masum lives as a tenant, at noon for alleged involvement of the landlord in drug peddling. The battalion personnel also knocked on the door of Masum's flat. As soon as Masum opened the door, the battalion personnel slapped him, accusing him of being late in opening the door.They started torturing Masum severely as he told them of his identity, according to spot accounts. Torturing him in public on the spot, the battalion men rubbed salt in the wounds and took him to the RAB 10 headquarters at Dhalpur.'At the RAB office, they tortured me inhumanly saying, "We are taking our anger at Nurul Kabir [New Age editor] out on you",' Masum said in the hospital. Soon after Masum's detention, different battalion officers came up with different stories as reason for the detention. Some of them claimed Masum was found in possession of Pethedine, some said with Phensidyl (codeine) syrup while some others said they found him with prostitutes.The battalion, when Masum was released, finally said they had picked him up for not cooperating with the law enforcement agency. The battalion reportedly requested several media houses not to run or print any report on the incident. The battalion released Masum after the New Age people had to sign an undertaking in which it was written that he had been picked up and was being handed over to his colleagues 'in good health.' He had marks of injury all over the body and his feet were swollen when he was released. Physicians in Dhaka Medical College Hospital advised a CT scan, which was later done.The New Age people were earlier asked to sign an undertaking in which it was said that Masum had been involved in trading in drugs for long, but his colleagues refused to sign it. Masum also said the battalion personnel had videoed arranged sequences of seizure of drug substances from his room. He was also videoed along with the wife of the owner of the house, he said.Masum, who received his master's degree in mass communication and journalism department in Dhaka University, earlier worked with the Bangladesh Today before joining New Age. He is an alumnus of the Barisal Cadet College. Masum has written reports on extrajudicial killing such as the death in 'crossfire' or 'encounter' committed by the battalion and on illicit trading in drug substances. He has also written several reports on torture on newsmen across the country.

 We feel that these are indeed serious allegations. Such accusations are many but ordinary people do not get help as the journalist community can manage. This case require full investigation by a magistrate or judicial officer. Government must rein in The law enforcement agencies , RAB, Police and others. Some real change must come .Government has to find out the way.In the name of some criminals, actually the entire population is under such terror threat.





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"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it".
               -Beatrice Hall [pseudonym: S.G. Tallentyre], 190

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