The Case of Bangladesh-born British Barrister Rizwan Hussain
The British Bangladeshi community is concerned and angry at the news of the recent barbaric beating and torture of British Bangladeshi Barrister and Channel S TV presenter Mr. Rizwan Hussain at the Dhaka International Airport on Monday April 14, 2008, between 8-10am.
Barrister Rizwan went to Dhaka International airport to see his sister off and was requested for help by a 60+ year old lady who discovered, only upon arrival at Dhaka airport, that her journey from Dubai to Birmingham has not been confirmed. The lady recognised Barrister Rizwan from the many TV programmes he presented in UK (to help cyclone Sidr victims) and quite understandably, sought help from him at the Emirates counter of the airport.
It is understood that despite having a legitimate entry pass and despite repeatedly introducing himself as a practicing Barrister and a TV presenter in the UK, Barrister Rizwan was beaten up mercilessly by four Air Force personnel by the name Anwaar, Saiful, Deelwaar and Mijan under the direct order from DSO Officer Iftekhar Jahan. The barbaric beating, torture and interrogation went on for 25 minutes followed by another 35 minutes at a stretch and resulted into horrific multiple injuries including fractured right leg and limb (the injuries have been displayed in UK TV and electronic media).
The Bangladeshi community of Great Britain is dismayed at the violence committed by the Airport Armed Forces personnel against an innocent expatriate civilian in broad day light. We denounce and condemn this act of violence and terrorism in an international airport.
It has been more than a month since the incident had taken place and despite our ultimatums and protests across the whole of the UK the culprits have not been punished. It is to be remembered that two British Bangladeshis in the past were killed at the same Dhaka International Airport of Bangladesh and no justice has been done.
'The deaths of British Bangladeshi Surat Mia and Moghul Qureshi in the same airport, therefore, remain vivid in the minds of British Bangladeshis.'
Further to our e-mails dated 20 April 2008 on the above to the Chief Adviser of Government of Bangladesh, a huge public meeting has taken place at the London Muslim Centre on Sunday the 27th of April 2008 under the banner of Voice for Justice (UK).
The meeting was unprecedented in its size and dimension and was attended by thousands of angry protesters gathered from all corners of the United Kingdom.
The following are the action plans that were unanimously resolved at the meeting of the 27th of April:
1. The British Bangladeshis in the UK condemns the heinous act of barbarism committed by the armed forces, police and civil aviation authorities of Bangladesh on Barrister Rizwan.
2. The meeting is hereby giving 10 days' ultimatum which ends on 7th May 2008 to the Government of Bangladesh to summarily dismiss and thus punish all those responsible for such barbarism.
3. An innocent British citizen has been brutally tortured in broad day light in Dhaka International Airport. This meeting is hereby giving 10 days' ultimatum which ends on 7th May 2008 to the British High Commissioner in Bangladesh to respond to Voice for Justice in the UK as to what the High Commission has done to seek punishment for the perpetrators and get justice and compensation for Mr. Rizwan from the Government of Bangladesh.
4. If by the next 10 days i.e. by the 7th of May 2008 , the Bangladesh Government does not punish the culprits, British Bangladeshis everywhere in the UK will resolve to:
(a) Barricade Bangladesh High Commission Offices in London, Birmingham and Manchester
(b) Barricade Sonali Bank and its branches in all cities in the UK and will stop sending remittance
(c) Instruct all travel agents to boycott Bangladesh Airlines in the UK and
(d) Lobby British Parliament, Parliamentarians and the present Labour Government to take up the matter with the Government of Bangladesh to secure justice.
5. The meeting also expressed its utter contempt at the media embargo on this issue on Bangladesh newspapers, TV and Electronic media. The British Bangladeshis in the UK demands that the Government of Bangladesh will withdraw its entire media embargo on this issue and allow the people of Bangladesh to know the truth about the incident and about the regular and systematic maltreatment of expatriate Bangladeshis in its airports and about the corrupt practices of Mafia groups based there.
These five points ultimatum was sent to the Chief Adviser, the Adviser for Foreign Affairs, The Chief of Armed Forces, and The British High Commissioner in Bangladesh.
In the United Kingdom, this was sent to the Rt. Hon. David Miliband MP - the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, the Rt. Hon. Jacqui Smith MP - the Secretary of State Home Affairs, the Rt. Hon. Hazel Blears MP – the Secretary of State for Community Affairs and the Rt. Hon. Stephen Timms MP - Minister for Employment and Welfare Reform on the night of the 27th of April 2008. Unfortunately neither the Bangladesh Government, nor the British Government (except an e-mail received by me last night Saturday the 17th May, from Mr. Stephen Timms) has responded to us with any tangible results.
The High Commission instead has issued a statement that a General Court Martial has commenced as a result of our protests on 2nd May. But, a subsequent letter from the High Commission dated 12 May 2008 requesting the presence of Barrister Rizwan before the Court in Dhaka on 18th May on the other hand, suggests that the trial cannot be in progress if the attendance of the complainant (who is badly injured and his medical circumstances do not permit travel) is indeterminable. We feel the public is being misled here by the Bangladesh High Commission in London and we sense a deliberate attempt to restrain the pressure that is building up in the United Kingdom
We demand that the whole matter is commissioned to the UK authorities by virtue of Section 135 of the Air Force Act 1953 and the Code of Criminal Procedure 1898 Chapter XL Sections 503 of Bangladesh thus urgently commissioning a Local Court to take down Barrister Rizwan’s evidence.
‘This dreadful incident has re-awakened memories of the killing of two UK Bangladeshi citizens in similar circumstances at Dhaka Airport a few years ago, over which no action was ever taken.’
This deliberate and intentional delay on this matter by the Government of Bangladesh is forcing us to call for actions agreed unanimously in the public meeting dated 27th of April 2008.
Dr. Hasanat Husain MBE, (Convener)