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Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

& Other Ill Treatment

In the early years of the 21st Century, 2000 to 2025                      

People’s Republic of Bangladesh

A range of human rights abuses by law enforcement agencies—including enforced disappearances, custodial deaths, arbitrary arrests, and torture—have continued unabated.

Prison conditions are extremely poor; severe overcrowding is common, and juveniles are often incarcerated with adults.

[Freedom House Country Report, 2020]

Description: Description: Bangladesh

CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Bangladesh.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Torture by Authorities are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring the moral justification for inflicting pain or inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment in order to obtain critical information that may save countless lives, or to elicit a confession for a criminal act, or to punish someone to teach him a lesson outside of the courtroom.  Perhaps your paper might focus on some of the methods of torture, like fear, extreme temperatures, starvation, thirst, sleep deprivation, suffocation, or immersion in freezing water.  On the other hand, you might choose to write about the people acting in an official capacity who perpetrate such cruelty.  There is a lot to the subject of Torture by Authorities.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.

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Bangladesh: Heed UN Recommendations on Torture

Human Rights Watch, Geneva, 29 July 2019

[accessed 31 July 2019]

Human Rights Watch has documented widespread torture by Bangladesh security forces including beating detainees with iron rods, belts, and sticks; subjecting detainees to electric shocks, waterboarding, hanging detainees from ceilings and beating them; and deliberately shooting detainees, typically in the lower leg, described as “kneecapping.” Authorities routinely claim that these victims were shot in self-defense, in “crossfire,” or during violent protests.

Sexual abuse, torture cost lives of 271 children in 2018: MJF

United News of Bangladesh, Dhaka, 29 April 2019

[accessed 12 May 2019]

A total of 271 children died after rape, sexual harassment and physical torture while 1,006 fell victims to such incid-ents across the country in 2018.

As per the survey, 129 children were abused and tortured by their teachers. Among them, 70 children were physically tortured, 33 fell victims to sexual harassment and 17 were raped by teachers. Besides, seven incidents of ‘attempt to rape by teachers’ were reported while one was abducted and another ‘committed suicide’.

The report also revealed that some 433 children fell victims to sexual harassment across the country. Of them, 356 were raped while 22 died after rape and one died after facing sexual harassment. Besides, 53 incidents of ‘attempt to rape’ were reported, it said.

Children between the age of seven and 12 were found victims of rape and attempt to rape while children between the age of 13 and 18 faced sexual harassment, said the study.

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Bangladesh

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 5 July 2021]


According to multiple organizations, including the UN Committee against Torture (CAT), security forces reportedly used torture to gather information from alleged militants and members of political opposition parties. Security forces reportedly used threats, beatings, kneecappings, electric shock, rape, and other sexual abuse. Numerous organizations also claimed security forces were involved in widespread and routine commission of torture–occasionally resulting in death–for the purpose of soliciting payment of bribes or obtaining confessions. According to these organizations, impunity for government actors committing torture was extensive. Politicization of crimes was a factor in impunity for custodial torture.


Prison conditions were harsh and at times life threatening due to severe overcrowding, inadequate facilities, and a lack of proper sanitation. There were no private detention facilities.

Physical Conditions: According to the Assistant Inspector General of Prisons, in March more than 89,000 prisoners occupied a system designed to hold 41,244 inmates.

Freedom House Country Report

2020 Edition

[accessed 14 May 2020]


A range of human rights abuses by law enforcement agencies—including enforced disappearances, custodial deaths, arbitrary arrests, and torture—have continued unabated. A 2017 Human Rights Watch (HRW) report documented the use of detention and enforced disappearance against members of the political opposition, despite the government’s promise to address the issue. In 2018, the government initiated a “war on drugs,” during which thousands were arrested and over 100 people were killed.

Odhikar reported a total of 391 extrajudicial killings perpetrated by law enforcement agencies in 2019. A report from the International Federation for Human Rights released in April 2019 found that 507 people had been subject to enforced disappearance between 2009 and 2018. Prison conditions are extremely poor; severe overcrowding is common, and juveniles are often incarcerated with adults.

UP member, nephew’s legs amputated after torture in police custody

Kamol Zoha Khan, Prothom Alo, Dhaka, 24 November 2018

[accessed 25 November 2018]

A union council member and his nephew had to have their legs amputated after suffering torture in police custody

"I've lost my left leg. Police, first, broke the leg and later shot there. Still I feel pain in the remaining part of the leg," said Faruk on Saturday.

Faruk and Ashraful told Prothom Alo that they were tortured brutally in police custody.

"I do politics of ruling Awami League. I gave my identity of a union parishad (UP) member to the policemen but they picked me up in their vehicle," Faruk told Prothom Alo at the NITOR.

"Both of us, Ashraful and I, were first taken to the Chanchra police outpost. We were then blindfolded and taken to an unknown place. Some four to five people started beating us after that. At one stage, they broke my leg with the help of two iron rods and they also shot in my left leg," he described.

Faruk also said that when he regained his consciousness he came to know that he and Ashraful were arrested on charges of obstructing police from discharging their duties and sabotage.

Both the victims were taken to Jessore Sadar Hospital first and shifted to the NITOR on 12 November.

OC among 8 sued in Madaripur for ‘torture’

UNB News, Madaripur, 11 March 2018

[accessed 25 March 2018]

According to the case statement, two years back, some local influential people allegedly gouged out the eyes of Nuru’s son Kabir Mridha over rivalry and a case was filed against them with over the incident.

However, the accused put pressure on the complainant to withdraw the case and reach an understanding with them, it said, adding that as they did not agree with it, the accused with the help of police picked nine people, including Nuru and his two sons Kabir and Khabr Mridha, up and tortured them.

Custodial Torture, Death: Cops want bail provision for the accused

Daily Star, 9 January 2018

[accessed 9 January 2018]

Police yesterday urged Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to take measures for amending the Torture and Custodial Death (Prevention) Act so that accused policemen can get bail.

They also want inclusion of a provision in the law for taking action against anyone who files false cases or gives false deposition against law enforcers over any custodial torture and death.

Human Rights Watch World Report 2015 - Events of 2014

Human Rights Watch, 29 January 2015 or

[accessed 18 March 2015]


ACCOUNTABILITY FOR SECURITY FORCES - Authorities arrested several members of the notorious Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) following intense public outrage over the abduction and apparent contract killings of seven men in Narayangunj in April.

Although the government claims that almost 2,000 RAB members have been punished for various misdemeanors since the group’s inception, there was not a single prosecution for extrajudicial executions, torture, or arbitrary arrests before the Narayanganj incident. Independent organizations estimate that the RAB has been responsible for approximately 800 unlawful killings over the past 10 years. Allegations of violations by members of the police and other law enforcement agencies, including the Border Guard Bangladesh, were not independently investigated or prosecuted.

Torture under police custody : Court asks IGP to suspend two police officers

Dhaka Tribune, Chandpur, 29 Aug 2013

[accessed 29 Aug 2013]

[accessed 28 December 2017]

The accused police officers were serving at Kochua police station then.   Lalu alleged that his enemies’ prompting, the police officers socially and politically humiliated Lalu.   The duo placed a gun upon Lalu’s hand and lodged a false case against him, described his statement.

“During police remand, they lit high-powered electric bulb before my eyes that severely damaged my eye-sight. Needles were also shoved under my fingernails,” added his complaint paper.   Lalu was also put in a crossfire but survived luckily, the paper mentioned.

Youth dies after ‘torture’ in police station

Ashif Islam Shaon, Dhaka Tribune, 23 May 2013

[accessed 24 May 2013]

[accessed 19 July 2017]

In the court, Reza gave confessional statement in the murder case. After recording the statement under Section 164, the court ordered his treatment. He was admitted to Victoria Hospital in Narayanganj around 8pm.

But the hospital authorities transferred him to the DMCH that night where he died around 8am yesterday.

“We got a scope to talk to him early in the morning [yesterday] at the DMCH. He told us that the inspector, cuffing his hands, beat him up mercilessly for four days. Under unbearable physical torture, he decided to give the confessional statement,” Iqbal said.

Human Rights Overview

Human Rights Watch

[accessed 21 January 2013]

Bangladesh’s government took no significant steps to investigate and prosecute torture in custody and extrajudicial killings during 2011. Although the number of killings by the paramilitary force, the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), dropped following domestic and international criticism, enforced disappearances increased. Activists and journalists were harassed or tortured.


From an old article -- URL not available

Article was published sometime prior to 2015

TORTURE AND OTHER ILL-TREATMENT - At least three people died in police custody, allegedly after being tortured. The government announced that criminal charges would be brought against any police personnel found responsible for these deaths. However, no one was charged or prosecuted by the end of the year. The government did not commit to bringing to justice police, RAB or other security personnel who allegedly tortured thousands of individuals in their custody throughout the year.

Newspaper editor Mahmudur Rahman told Amnesty International after his release in March that he was beaten severely on his back over the course of a night at a police station inside the army cantonment. He was detained in mid-2010 after publishing articles exposing alleged government corruption. The beating was so severe that he lost consciousness for several hours. He said he saw no point in complaining as he knew the authorities would not bother to act.


For current articles:: Search Amnesty International Website

[accessed 25 December 2018]


Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 21 January 2013]

[accessed 3 July 2019]

TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT – While the law prohibits torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading punishment, security forces, the RAB, and police routinely employed physical and psychological torture as well as cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment during arrests and interrogations. Torture consisted of threats and beatings and the use of electric shock. According to the Bangladesh Rehabilitation Center for Trauma Victims, there were 2,297 victims of torture and 15 deaths due to torture by security forces during the year (see sections 1.a., 1.d., and 2.a.). The government rarely charged, convicted, or punished those responsible, and a climate of impunity allowed such police abuses to continue.

On July 15, three off-duty RAB members assaulted Abu Bakar Sultan after Sultan asked the RAB members to stop attacking a driver in Uttora, near Dhaka. The RAB members blindfolded and handcuffed Sultan, took him to their office in Uttora, tied him to a tree, and repeatedly kicked, punched, and beat him with iron rods and hammers. After a senior RAB official acquainted with Sultan's family intervened, the RAB released Sultan and admitted him to a hospital with multiple fractures and swellings. On July 24, newspapers reported that RAB authorities withdrew three officers and sent them back to their home police departments. Police excused 10 others from duty in relation to the case.

Law enforcement personnel accused of rape and torture generally were not investigated.

Freedom House Country Report - Political Rights: 4   Civil Liberties: 4   Status: Partly Free

2009 Edition

[accessed 21 January 2013]

LONG URL   ç 2009 Country Reports begin on Page 21

[accessed 11 May 2020]

Journalists continue to be threatened and attacked with impunity by organized crime groups, party activists, and Islamist groups, although the level of harassment has declined and no journalists have been killed in Bangladesh for the past two years. Official reprisals against reporters and editors have worsened, with several cases of arbitrary arrest, prolonged detention, and custodial torture being documented, including those of Tasneem Khalil in 2007 and Noor Ahmed in 2008. Journalists have also reported an increase in threatening telephone calls from intelligence agencies seeking to prevent negative coverage, and many practice self-censorship when reporting on sensitive topics.

Under the EPR, rights of assembly and association were suspended, although these restrictions were eased gradually during 2008 and were fully lifted by year’s end. Occasional demonstrations continued to take place, and protesters have sometimes been killed or injured during clashes with police. Numerous world-class nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) operate in Bangladesh and meet basic needs in fields such as education, health care, and microcredit. However, those perceived to have a political bias or to be overly critical of the government, particularly on human rights issues, are subject to intense official scrutiny and occasional harassment. Amnesty International has noted that at least eight human rights defenders have been assassinated since 2000, and that many have been injured or threatened by criminal gangs or party factions. Others have faced arbitrary arrest and torture by the authorities.

The judicial system is prone to corruption and severely backlogged; pretrial detention is lengthy, and many defendants lack counsel. The indigent have little access to justice through the courts. Prison conditions are extremely poor, and severe overcrowding is common, to the extent that prisoners have to sleep in shifts. According to the New Delhi–based Asian Centre for Human Rights, hundreds of juveniles are illegally held in prisons in contravention of the 1974 Children’sAct. Suspects are routinely subjected to warrantless arrest and detention, demands for bribes, and physical abuse (including torture) at the hands of law enforcement officials. Torture is routinely used to extract confessions and intimidate political detainees.

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Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance & Other Ill Treatment in the early years of the 21st Century- Bangladesh", Bangladesh.htm, [accessed <date>]