Friday, April 29, 2016

Skip Navigation Links
 
link
 
link
SUPPLEMENT

Visitor Login










HACKING TO DEATH “NOT CHARACTERISTICS OF BANGLADESH”

Silencing dissent sow seeds of violence

Sadeq Khan

 
Rajshahi University students took to the street to  protest killing of their teacher.
Top leaders of the party in power were certainly ill-advised to rake up a dormant police case, filed in Bangladesh in the shadow of a 2014 criminal prosecution in USA, adjudicated and disposed of over a year back in a U.S. court, to implicate a senior media man connected with mainstream opposition politics by a sensational style of police raid, and all the more sensational disclosures by the police who are still in the process of investigating a “conspiracy to abduct and kill” hypothesis.            
That hypothesis was dismissed by the US court in its judgment way back in 2015.  Reviving the hypothesis and implicating another distinguished media man, already jailed for what many regard as his conscientious conflict with the law of the land, has not been able to divert public and global media attention from the gross failure of the police in protecting lives of citizens.
Full Story

Sadeq Khan

 
Rajshahi University students took to the street to  protest killing of their teacher.
Top leaders of the party in power were certainly ill-advised to rake up a dormant police case, filed in Bangladesh in the shadow of a 2014 criminal prosecution in USA, adjudicated and disposed of over a year back in a U.S. court, to implicate a senior media man connected with mainstream opposition politics by a sensational style of police raid, and all the more sensational disclosures by the police who are still in the process of investigating a “conspiracy to abduct and kill” hypothesis.            
That hypothesis was dismissed by the US court in its judgment way back in 2015.  Reviving the hypothesis and implicating another distinguished media man, already jailed for what many regard as his conscientious conflict with the law of the land, has not been able to divert public and global media attention from the gross failure of the police in protecting lives of citizens.
Denials lost appeal
The security and intelligence agencies of the incumbent regime have utterly failed to detect, apprehend and prevent the perpetrators of serial killings by waylaying or raiding to mangle persons known to be what a recent US State Department statement described as ‘free-thinkers’. Al-Qaeda in the Indian subcontinent, the Islamic State or their local associates Ansarullah Bangla Team has severally taken credit for the incidents.
The latest murders, from Jagannath University student Nazimuddin Samad to Rajshahi University teacher Rezaul Karim Siddique, blogger Avijit and former US embassy staff Xulhaz Mannan, are claimed by ruling party leaders at the ministerial level to be gory acts of home-grown militant outfits, connected with the mainstream opposition, and guided by the sole purpose of destabilising the government.
Sheikh Hasina’s government has been doggedly denying any presence or incursion of ISIS or al-Qaeda militants in this country, categorising the killers sweepingly as recruits of suppressed and disgruntled BNP-Jamat opposition alliance. That theory has by now become unsalable both domestically and internationally. Even the Home Minister’s own detectives are now reluctant to limit themselves to that line, and are beginning to think that the perpetrators of the exemplary serial killings of those they consider “enemies of Islam, are pursuing a longer-term strategy, not simply that of bringing down the government.
According to a newspaper report in the Daily Sun, detectives fear that local militants who are linked to regional and global jihadist groups like Islamic State and al-Qaeda are conserving their strength and hitting at their convenience to destabilise the country (not the government). Ritually, one of the allied groups claims responsibility for every crime.
They have been able to maintain secrecy and the law-enforcers are still in the dark about the culprits, militants or other criminals, involved in such ambushes or raids.
 
MPs, minister threatened
As a result of repeated homicides and threats in the name of banned outfits, politicians, intellectuals and bloggers who usually write on different social media criticising religion, have been terrorised, and are living in fear. The panic has struck deeper after the manner of double murder of Xulhaz Mannan, also editor of transgender magazine ‘Roopbaan’, and his friend Mahbub Rabbi Tonoy. Half a dozen militants went to Xulhaz’ flat and killed the duo with sharp weapons. They also wounded a security guard, now undergoing treatment at Dhaka Medical College Hospital. Witnesses said the attackers shouted “Allahu Akbar” as they fled the scene. The attack came two days after the English professor Rezaul was killed in a similar style in an attack claimed by the IS.
Earlier, the same group also claimed the blame for killing two foreigners and attacking Christian priests. The government denied outright the presence of IS or al-Qaeda groups on home soil.
To the credit of the law-enforcers, so far some five militants have been killed in shootouts since last November. The police have stepped up a crackdown on banned militant outfits seeking to establish Shariah-based caliphate in Bangladesh.
Militant group Ansarullah Bangla Team in a statement last September demanded that citizenship of ‘the critics of Islam’ be revoked: “Otherwise, they’ll be killed wherever they are found in the Almighty’s world.” Recently, it also threatened to kill State Minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak and 21 others, including four lawmakers from Natore, for ‘blasphemy’.
According to RAB police sources, jailed militants, mostly convicted for carrying out grenade or bomb attacks and countrywide serial bombings, prepare the blueprints with their fugitive associates contacted on mobile right from prison cells to guide continuation of attacks. According to jail sources, 461 militant activists of different outlawed militant offshoots, including JMB and Huji, now languish in jails. Of them, 158 were convicted, with 27 in the death row awaiting execution.
 
Police acknowledge gravity
Although lawmen arrested some militant activists recently, most of the listed militants, including JMB’s Boma Mizan and Saleheen, managed to remain at large. Besides, over a dozen dreaded JMB militants got out of jail on bail, and reportedly engaged again in militant activities.
Huji subversives are also reportedly reorganising and revitalising their network. “They are collecting sophisticated arms and ammunition from their allied foreign groups,” according to a senior detective officer.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police Commissioner Asaduzzaman Miah acknowledged the gravity of the present situation. He said, “We’ve taken seriously all the murders like Xulhaz/Nazimuddin Samad, and militant threats to intellectuals.”
That realisation, however late, is welcome. Hopefully, the political leaders at the top would also pay heed to the International Crisis Group’s astute observation: “Politicising the police and using elite forces, particularly the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), to silence political dissent, are sowing the seeds of future violence...... Concentrating on targeting the opposition, the police are failing to curb criminality. The prisons are overburdened by mass arrests of opposition leaders and activists; and the judiciary, perceived as partisan for trials and sentences based on political grounds, is losing credibility. ..... If mainstream dissent remains closed, more and more government opponents may come to view violence and violent groups as their only recourse.”
 
Home minister changing tune
It is good that Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal is also changing his tune after his meeting with American Ambassador Marcia Stephens Bloom Bernicat in his office. He said that the United States and Bangladesh will work together to put an end to terrorism in the country.
As such, the Home Ministry on 27 April decided to set up a 24/7 anti-terrorism cell to monitor all terrorism related information and pass that on to relevant law enforcement agencies. The cell will be led by additional secretary (political) from the Home Ministry who will collect and coordinate all the information obtained from internal and external sources. 
Thanks to Ambassador Bernicat, the global electronic media has carried a message meanwhile that “What have been happening here (in Bangladesh) are not the characteristics of Bangladesh at all,” and that the recent attackers’ violent ideology created “fear” among people. Bernicat was connected by CNN live through Skype from Dhaka on 27 April for her reactions on the killings of Xulhaz Mannan and Mahbub Tonoy.

Login to post comments


(0)



CEC ABDICATES HIS AUTHORITY

Overwhelming victory of AL candidates in UP elections 

Faruque Ahmed

 
The Union Parishad (UP) elections in the country has created a new polarization in local politics in the opinion of government experts and social scientists in which they believe the ruling Awami League is working on a plan to marginalize the opposition, if not  eliminating it all together from local politics.
Full Story

Faruque Ahmed

 
The Union Parishad (UP) elections in the country has created a new polarization in local politics in the opinion of government experts and social scientists in which they believe the ruling Awami League is working on a plan to marginalize the opposition, if not  eliminating it all together from local politics.
As has been charted out, Awami League chairman and councillor candidates are the overall winners in the polls all over, but the party rivals who came out challenging the ruling party nominations appears to have caused the biggest damage to the party and the government.

EC expresses elation
The overt winning is causing covert split in the party structure at many places and many fear it may go a long way to reshape local politics and government control in rural society. Switching party loyalty is normal in Bangladesh politics and in case the ruling party faces political debacle in the future observers believe many of the rivals may play in the hands of the present opposition in the new situation.
The third phase election to 620 Union Parishads (UPs) on April 23 passed off amidst violence, rigging and stuffing of ballots like in the two previous phases. Official disclosure said two persons were killed in election related violence and the number further grew in post election violence at some places.
Security measures were also slack this time but unlike 38 killed in elections violence in the two earlier phases, the death tolls were two in the last phase. But question arises why the Election Commission (EC) is holding the election marred with such widespread violence and voting irregularities. Why is that the elections scandalised with widespread violence, rigging and irregularities has to continue and not cancelled. 
What appears quite surprising is that the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Kazi Rokibuddin termed this phase of election also as free and fairer over the previous phases when people remained at a loss how such election can be described fairer and satisfactory.  
The other disclosure that about 77.19 percent voters turn out was reported on an average and in many places even exceeding the hundred percent appears even more surprising. It actually reflected Jatiya Party Chief HM Ershad’s statement that “I will give my vote and also your vote.” When voters’ presence is not mandatory in this election as any other can cast his or her vote, the highest turnout also makes no sense. Such election will remain largely unacceptable because it is more or less a ruling party selection without election in its true sense. 
 
PM’s message to CEC
The ruling party Awami League is holding the polls on party ticket for the first time to establish its control over local politics. Awami League chairman candidates won in 324 UPs in the third phase while BNP won only in 57 UPs. The Awami League candidates also declared ‘winner’ in 29 UPs unopposed. In the two previous phases Awami League won over 80 percent UPs including more than hundred unopposed and that also showed a total marginalization of major opposition BNP in local election. 
What appears distinctly unusual is that a delegation of Awami League led by senior joint secretary Mahbubul Alam met the CEC at his office two days prior to the third phase of the UP elections and passed a message of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina asking him to be ‘tough in dealing’ with violence and irregularities during this election.
What he said he has passed “a strong instruction of the Prime Minister who does not want to see any irregularity, fault and deviation in the elections.”
To many, the advice of the Prime Minister to the CEC was misunderstood in the context of present politics. The Prime Minister may have outwardly showed she is quite annoyed by the scale of violence in the elections by this message which is damaging the image of her government.
But in that event, the Prime Minister could have ordered the law enforcers to strictly follow the rules and act accordingly and then surely the musclemen couldn’t have acted the way they did and ousted the rival polling agents from the centres.     
 
CEC abdicates authority
It appears simple that the EC could conduct the election when the government ensures a congenial law and order situation to hold the election peacefully. It is said that the EC has no police force to deal with violence outside the polling centres where police remained stationed under the supervision of a magistrate and they act on order of local administration. They act the way a partisan administration ask them to do and they keep silent while voting is rigged and powerful candidates evict their opposition using their muscle power.        
However, the fact is different. Under the law, during polling time, the CEC is authorised to bring the administration under his firm control for conducting free and fair elections. He is authorised to suspend or even fire any official for misconduct and acting against the EC’s orders. But without exercising his authority, the present CEC conveniently acts as helpless and abdicates his responsibility. Under the law, if the CEC is convinced that under a partisan administration it may be difficult for him to conduct the polls freely, he has the authority to ask the armed forces division to come out and help EC to properly hold the elections. He doesn’t need the government’s permission for that. But he has repeatedly said in the past that the situation does not merit calling the army for deployment during the polling time.    
The EC is a statutory body with independent power. But to exercise its authority and power depends on the personality of the head of the body. The present head of the EC does not seem to know how to act independently and discharge his responsibility to hold free and fair elections.

Login to post comments


(0)



In US, the talk is of ‘political revolution’, in Bangladesh, of ‘social revolution’

Rieta Rahman

 
Gaping Inequality is again globally the existential theme in public discourse. In the campaign trail of primaries in US presidential election, ruling Democratic Party aspirant Bernie Sanders has highlighted the theme of one percent accumulating ninety percent wealth with the effect of disabling the American middle-class and depriving organised labour. His human development slogans and his challenge to corporate America have been echoed by rival Democratic front-runner Hilary Clinton, and even the rightist Republican front-runner Donald Trump is talking about taking to task corporate America to bring jobs back to working American men and women.
Full Story

Rieta Rahman

 
Gaping Inequality is again globally the existential theme in public discourse. In the campaign trail of primaries in US presidential election, ruling Democratic Party aspirant Bernie Sanders has highlighted the theme of one percent accumulating ninety percent wealth with the effect of disabling the American middle-class and depriving organised labour. His human development slogans and his challenge to corporate America have been echoed by rival Democratic front-runner Hilary Clinton, and even the rightist Republican front-runner Donald Trump is talking about taking to task corporate America to bring jobs back to working American men and women.
Huge crowds of young Americans are flocking around Bernie Sanders responding to his call for a “political revolution” to shake the apathy of the US establishment towards the widening gap of inequality. The socialist Democrat, as he calls himself, may not win the race, but has certainly made his mark.
 
Lenin remembered
Here in Bangladesh, on the occasion of the 146th birth anniversary of the leader of October Revolution of Russia in 1917, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, the Communist Party of Bangladesh, Marxist-Leninist (CPB-ML) organised a discussion meeting in the National Press Club on 23 April. Presided over by former Industries Minister Comrade Dilip Barua, who is also the General Secretary of CPB-ML, the discussion meeting was attended by Mr. Rashed Khan Menon, Minister of Civil Aviation and Tourism, Comrade Mujahidul Islam Selim, President of the Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB), Advocate Enamul Huq, General Secretary of the National Awami Party (NAP), Syed Abul Maksud, Research Scholar and Columnist, and important members of their respective party or civil society organisations.
In his keynote speech as Chief Guest, Mr. Rashed Khan Menon pointed to the crisis of capitalism that is now plaguing humanity, with accumulation of capital in the hands of one percent downgrading the quality of life of the remaining 99 percent in rich and poor nations alike. He said, as the exploitation of the imperialist order is becoming more intense, the teaching of Comrade Vladimir Ilyich Lenin is becoming more and more relevant. Lenin is remembered by the people in the West, in Afro-Asian countries, in Latin America and elsewhere in the world through the “Ten Days That Shook the World” by October revolution in Russia.  

What’s in name
The minister, a leading member of the ruling 14-party alliance was saying that in the sixties, young generation in this country were inspired by Marxism-Leninism to unite for socialist revolution and liberation from the vestiges of colonial hang-over. Today in the disturbed world situation, new regeneration should learn from Marxism-Leninism, which is not just a philosophy but a scientific path-finder, and unite the forces of change to attain common weal and equality.
Interesting is the contemporary scenario that translate Marxism-Leninism doctrine of socialism in the light that Bernie Sanders in the West particularly during the recent USA Presidential primaries rather talk of ‘Political Revolution’, in Bangladesh the same may be meant by ‘Social Revolution’. Whether social justice and people’s fundamental rights are given rightful space in the perhaps upcoming term or in the concept of it of ‘Political Revolution’ or as called in Bangladesh ‘Social Revolution’ could suits better in the contemporary world with its multifaceted complexities, remain to be answered in the near future.

Login to post comments


(0)



Biman’s Board: Old wine in a new bottle

Shahabuddin Ahmad

 
The government has reconstituted the Board of the Directors of Bangladesh Biman which looks like old wine in a new bottle. Both the present and the past board had adequate representation from the civil and military bureaucracy and business groups but conspicuously lacked people with expertise in running a commercial airline.
Full Story

Shahabuddin Ahmad

 
The government has reconstituted the Board of the Directors of Bangladesh Biman which looks like old wine in a new bottle. Both the present and the past board had adequate representation from the civil and military bureaucracy and business groups but conspicuously lacked people with expertise in running a commercial airline.
None of the Directors of the past or the present Boards is professionally qualified to be there as the disciplines of civil aviation and military aviation have different purposes and projections. Civil aviation is expected to provide safe and comfortable journey to its revenue paying passengers locally and globally to their full satisfaction.
Those who run airline business know that by 2030 civil aviation aircrafts will carry 1000 passengers and in those airplanes the interior decoration, inner space and levels of hospitality arrangements will far exceed what we see in modern Airbus and Boeing aircrafts at present.
The present Board members are not, therefore, expected to look into what is needed for operation, marketing, purchase, borrowing and equity needs of the national carrier as they have neither the experience nor the professional background of running an airline commercially. Since the birth of the national carrier, Government has not infused sufficient equity for its own company.
During the last few years some new and some old planes have been procured. Despite the acquisition of new assets, Biman has been in the red. The chairman of the last board stayed on the job for the last 7 years, used to hold office in the Biman HQ and hired two foreigners as CEOs and managing directors. Both of them left the airline and they made it known privately that the Board interfered in the day-to-day affairs of running the national airline. The new Board Chairman, it is learnt, is unlikely to hold office daily in Biman office and he will try to procure sufficient equity from the owner of the company, i.e., the Government of Bangladesh.
There is a provision for appointment of an operator to operate the business of the company efficiently. Experts suggest that perhaps it will be a good step for the new board to negotiate and enter into an agreement with any operator on the basis of revenue and profit sharing. Knowledgeable circles with experience in running commercial airlines would like to see that an attempt is made to salvage Biman from its present pitiable condition.
The government has reconstituted a new 13 member board of directors last month. They are:
Air Marshal Muhammad Enamul Bari, Chairman; directors include Mahbub Ahmed, Senior Secretary, Finance Division, Suraiya Begum, secretary, Prime Minister’s Office, S.M.Ghulam Farooque, Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation &Tourism, Md.Nazrul Islam khan, former Secretary, Ministry of Education, Air Vice Marshal M. Naim Hassan, Asstt .Chief of Air Staff (Opns &Trng), Maj.Gen.Md.Siddiqur Rahman Sarker Engineer-in-Chief, Bangladesh Army, Air Vice Marshal Ehsanul Gani Choudhury, Chairman,Civil Aviation Authority, Tapos Kumar Roy, former Additional Secretary, Power Division, Barrister Tanjib-ul Alam lawyer, Bangladesh Supreme Court, Md. Siddiqur Rhaman, President, BGMEA, N.K.A. Mobin, Managing Director & CEO, Emerging Credit Rating Ltd, M.M. Asaduzzaman, Wing Cdr (retd.) Managing Director & CEO, Biman.
 
The writer is the Editor of the Travel World

Login to post comments


(0)



Global pressures mounts on Bangladesh after recent killings

Shakhawat Hossain

 
The Bangladesh govern-ment is now facing mounting pressures from international community, global rights groups and local critics for  ‘effective and prompt’ investigations to bring the murderers in the country to justice soon after the two leading gay rights activists were hacked to death Tuesday.
Full Story

Shakhawat Hossain

 
The Bangladesh govern-ment is now facing mounting pressures from international community, global rights groups and local critics for  ‘effective and prompt’ investigations to bring the murderers in the country to justice soon after the two leading gay rights activists were hacked to death Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the ISIS has claimed a number of the killings, most recently that of a professor hacked to death in the northwestern city of Rajshahi. A Bangladesh branch of Al Qaeda has also said it was behind the murders of secular bloggers and writers.
 
PM blames BNP, Jamaat
However, the government has again categorically rejected the claims and blamed the homegrown Islamist groups for the crime. Besides, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina last Monday blamed the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its Islamist ally, Jamaat-e-Islami for the deaths of the two gay activists and said: “The BNP-Jamaat nexus has been engaged in such secret and heinous murders in various forms to destabilise the country,” Hasina said. “Such killings are being staged in a planned way.”
Bangladesh media, meanwhile, criticised the government’s claims, saying it had a duty to protect the victims whoever was behind the attacks.
The UN, the United States, European Union, France the United Kingdom, Germany, Denmark, Amnesty International (AI), Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Human Rights Watch (HRW) and diplomats of different countries have issued separate statements on Monday and Tuesday after the double murder in the city’s Kalabagan area. 
The US has offered full support to the government in its investigation into the barbaric murder of Xulhaz and his friend to bring the perpetrators to justice.
‘We offer our full support to the government of Bangladesh as they investigate these murders and bring the perpetrators to justice,’ said US secretary of state John Kerry in a statement.  Kerry condemned the killings of Tonmoy and Mannan, who worked for the US government aid organisation USAID.  
‘We’re heart-broken and outraged by the brutal and barbaric murder of our colleague Xulhaz Mannan, a beloved member of the US Embassy family,’ US assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia Nisha Biswal tweeted.
Besides, US State department spokesperson John Kirby in a regular press briefing said they are outraged by the barbaric attack on Xulhaz, a beloved member of their embassy family and a courageous advocate for LGBTI rights and human rights. National Security Council spokesperson Ned Price also issued a separate statement deploring the murder. The US ambassador Marcia Stephens Bloom Bernicat also said she is ‘devastated’ by the brutal murder of Xulhaz Mannan and another young Bangladeshi.
 
IS exists claims US Amb.
UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh, the European Union, France, Germany, UK, Denmark, The Amnesty International, the CPJ,  New-York based Human Rights Watch (HRW) in separate statements on Tuesday urged Bangladesh to immediately investigate the killings of two ‘LGBT human rights activists’.
US Ambassador in Dhaka Marcia Stephens Bloom Bernicat talking to newsmen after her long meeting with Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said that militants have become active in the country recently amid the presence of the Islamic State. She said that killers in Bangladesh were getting away with murder.
The home minister, however, said that it was her emotional reaction and she had also praised the role of police in fighting terrorism and extremism in the country.  ‘She came here with a heavy heart.’  The home minister rejected the US Ambassador’s claim, but admitted: “We have found evidence of militant links with 31 killings and of those, 25 have already been solved. Even the criminals in the incidents were arrested as well,” said the Home Minister after meeting with the US envoy at his office on Wednesday.
The hom minister, described the killing of USAID staff Xulhaz and his friend Tanmoy a ‘target killing’, also stated that such incidents were the manifestation of an international conspiracy. “A vested quarter is carrying out such killings in recent times to destabilise the country,” he told newsmen at the Secretariat.

Login to post comments


(0)



CIA torture program designers can now be sued

The first time such a case has been allowed to proceed.

Sarah Lazare

AlterNet
 
For the first time, a federal judge is allowing torture victims to sue the psychologists who devised the CIA’s brutal interrogation methods that included sleep deprivation, starvation and forcing captives into coffin-like boxes.
Gul Rahman, an Afghan refugee who formerly lived in Pakistan, froze to death at a CIA black site, so his family is bringing the case on his behalf. The other men, Suleiman Abdullah Salim and Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud, are also levying the suit with the backing of the ACLU.
Full Story

Sarah Lazare

AlterNet
 
For the first time, a federal judge is allowing torture victims to sue the psychologists who devised the CIA’s brutal interrogation methods that included sleep deprivation, starvation and forcing captives into coffin-like boxes.
Gul Rahman, an Afghan refugee who formerly lived in Pakistan, froze to death at a CIA black site, so his family is bringing the case on his behalf. The other men, Suleiman Abdullah Salim and Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud, are also levying the suit with the backing of the ACLU.
‘A historic win’
The defendants are James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, who received millions of dollars from the government for a company they established in 2005 to run the CIA torture program. In a searing report released in December 2014, Physicians for Human Rights slammed Mitchell and Jessen for their role in “conceptualizing and designing strategies for the direct infliction of a combination of physical and psychological harm on detainees.” Mitchell dismissed the atrocities highlighted in the Senate torture report as a “load of hooey” in 2014. Mitchell, like other high-level architects of CIA torture, has so far faced no consequences for his role in the systematic atrocities perpetrated by the post-9/11 U.S. government and its contractors. But this impunity could change after U.S. District Court Senior Judge Justin Quackenbush last Friday instructed lawyers that they will have 30 days to present their plan for discovery, making this the first CIA torture lawsuit that will be allowed to proceed.
“Until now, every lawsuit trying to hold people accountable for the CIA torture program has been dismissed before reaching the merits because the government successfully argued that letting the cases proceed would reveal state secrets,” the ACLU explained.
“This is a historic win in the fight to hold the people responsible for torture accountable for their despicable and unlawful actions,” said ACLU staff attorney Dror Ladin, who argued in the court. “Thanks to this unprecedented ruling, CIA victims will be able to call their torturers to account in court for the first time.”
“James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen not only violated their ethical duty to do no harm, they helped commit war crimes,” said Sarah Dougherty, a senior fellow at Physicians for Human Rights. “They must be held accountable for the cruelty they inflicted, not only on these plaintiffs, but on all those who suffered in the CIA’s unlawful torture program.”
 
Sarah Lazare is a staff writer for AlterNet. A former staff writer for Common Dreams, she coedited the book About Face: Military Resisters Turn Against War. Follow her on Twitter at @sarahlazare.

 


Login to post comments


(0)



Number of Palestinian children in Israeli prisons soars

Charlotte Silver Electronicintifada.net

Israel has sunk to new lows this year: arresting and imprisoning its youngest female detainee, 12-year-old Dima al-Wawi, and sentencing her to nearly five months in prison.
Dima was arrested in February after she allegedly approached the settlement of Karmei Tzur in the southern occupied West Bank with a knife. All of Israel’s settlements are illegal under international law. She has said her intention was to stab a security guard, but the incident resulted in no injuries.
Full Story

Charlotte Silver Electronicintifada.net

Israel has sunk to new lows this year: arresting and imprisoning its youngest female detainee, 12-year-old Dima al-Wawi, and sentencing her to nearly five months in prison.
Dima was arrested in February after she allegedly approached the settlement of Karmei Tzur in the southern occupied West Bank with a knife. All of Israel’s settlements are illegal under international law. She has said her intention was to stab a security guard, but the incident resulted in no injuries.
Children’s detention
Israel released Dima on Sunday, after she served half her sentence, following a successful appeal of her detention by her family on the grounds that Israeli law prohibits incarcerating children under 14.
But Israel has also reached grim new highs this year, incarcerating a much greater number of Palestinian children between the ages of 12 and 15, making Dima’s imprisonment disturbing not so much for its novelty but for how routine it is.
At the end of December 2015, 116 Palestinian children between 12 and 15 years old were held in Israeli military detention, an eleven-fold increase from the previous year.
In total, 440 children under 18 are currently held in military detention, which is the highest number since the Israeli army began sharing data in 2008, and almost two-and-half times the number imprisoned a yar ago.
According to Defense for Children International– Palestine (DCIP), no other country in the world systematically prosecutes hundreds of children in military courts each year. DCIP thoroughly documents the alarming trends in Israel’s incarceration of children in a new report, No Way to Treat a Child, which details the extent to which Israel has degraded the rights of children living under its military rule.
The researchers collected 429 sworn testimonies between January 2012 and December 2015.
The report reveals that in 97 percent of the cases, no parent or lawyer was present during interrogation and in 88 percent of the cases the children were not informed of the reason for their arrest.
 
Mandatory punishment for children
Following harsh censure in 2013 for its treatment of Palestinian children in military courts by the UN children’s fund, UNICEF, and the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Israel made several attempts to publicly reform the image of how it treats Palestinian children.
Israel amended its military orders to prohibit night arrests of minors, blindfolding and restraining children with shackles and handcuffs.
But as DCIP documents, those practices are still widely used.
Moreover, in November 2015, Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, amended the Youth Law to institute mandatory minimum sentences for children alleged to be involved in throwing stones, and increased maximum sentences for children who throw stones at a moving vehicle.
“Under the military legal framework,” the report states, “any soldier or police officer is authorized to arrest persons without a warrant, even children, where they have a suspicion that the individual has committed an act violating one of the ‘security offenses’ in Israeli military law.”
“Most children are arrested on suspicion, without arrest warrants. There is little to no independent oversight over arrests,” the report adds.
Meanwhile, according to DCIP, Israel maintains that it is not obliged to extend international human rights law, including protections outlined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank – arguments that have been rejected by the International Court of Justice and several UN human rights treaty bodies.
 
Confessions coerced
Dima’s case is emblematic of many of the abuses documented by DCIP. She was interrogated without her parents or a lawyer and attended her court sessions with her feet in shackles.
She was also sentenced after accepting a plea bargain, confessing to attempted voluntary manslaughter and illegal possession of a knife. More than 99 percent of DCIP’s cases ended with plea deals.
At her homecoming from prison on Sunday, Dima said that her one respite during her two-and-a-half-month ordeal was that she was allowed to play with other incarcerated girls.
But this is telling of a concerning trend: though still a minority, the number of young Palestinian girls in Israeli prison has reached new heights – there were 12 as of February.
“As the number of arrests of children has grown amid the escalation of violence in recent months, so has the number of cases in which international norms protecting children are violated,” Human Rights Watch states in its recent report on the abuse of detained Palestinian children.
The DCIP and Human Rights Watch reports demonstrate that within the Israeli military system, Palestinians’ status as children yields to their presumed criminal status, justifying the denial of a host of protections that should apply to minors according to international norms and sometimes even Israeli law.
The systematic abuse of children, from arresting them in the middle of the night, to keeping them from their parents, to inflicting physical abuse, is aimed at coercing confessions.
Seventeen-year-old Bashir, who was summoned for questioning, told DCIP, “[The Israeli interrogation officer] kicked me twice on my legs, punched me twice in the stomach and three times on the head, while shouting, ‘You better confess because I won’t stop beating you unless you confess.’”
 
System of control
DCIP records that 27.5 percent of children experienced some form of physical violence during interrogation.
“The main philosophy of interrogation is to exert as much pressure on the person under interrogation and keep his resistance as low as possible,” Ayed Abu Eqtaish, the accountability program director at DCIP states in Detaining Dreams, a new short documentary, produced by the organization.
DCIP writes, “Interrogation sessions serve as the primary means of securing evidence against children.”
The documentary interviews four teenagers who were arrested in the spring of 2014 and severely beaten during their arrests and subsequent interrogations.
Abed, who was 14 at the time of his arrest, recalls that he was chained to a wall with his feet barely touching the ground, as the soldiers delivered blows to his body: “It reached a point where all I felt was pain.”
DCIP emphasizes that “cosmetic” changes to Israeli military law cannot adequately address the mistreatment of children in the military court system because “the system serves control interests of the occupation,” rather than the interests of administering justice.
“The Israeli military’s resistance to implementing a summons process for Palestinian minors, or other practical changes to address violence and abuse, suggest an inherent conflict within the military court system between seeking justice and legitimizing control of the Palestinian population living under military occupation.”
 
 
Charlotte Silver is an independent journalist and regular writer for The Electronic Intifada. She is based in Oakland, California and has reported from Palestine since 2010. Follow her on Twitter @CharESilver

Login to post comments


(0)



SL: Sirisena’s peace efforts to fail if guilty goes unpunished

Dr. Abdul Ruff in New Delhi

 
Reconciliation is closely and directly linked to repentance by those who have committed sins or crimes- knowingly or otherwise.  A fake reconciliation move on the part of any regime that has committed and perpetrated crimes against minorities for whatever reasons cannot ensure peace and stability in that country. The case in point here is Sri Lanka, an island nation in South Asia facing the threat of dangerous level of climatic disorders.
Full Story

Dr. Abdul Ruff in New Delhi

 
Reconciliation is closely and directly linked to repentance by those who have committed sins or crimes- knowingly or otherwise.  A fake reconciliation move on the part of any regime that has committed and perpetrated crimes against minorities for whatever reasons cannot ensure peace and stability in that country. The case in point here is Sri Lanka, an island nation in South Asia facing the threat of dangerous level of climatic disorders.
Sri Lanka, like India, does not seem to repent for their sins and crimes perpetrated against minority communities, especially the Tamils primarily because they don’t expect forgiveness of the Tamil community at all and want to coerce and pressure the besieged minority community to just forget about the past and try to assimilate themselves with the majority Singhalese.
 
Sirisena regime’s dilemma
If one watches Lankan TV channels and read news media portals one thing is crystal clear that the SL government and majority look at the Tamils and other minorities as a problem which needs to be put down by all means, including with force. They, thus, have got no sympathy for Tamils, whom Rajapaksha regime and military targeted. In fact, they have no regrets whatsoever for the crimes they committed against humanity in the name of fighting ‘terrorism’.
Sri Lankan war crimes against humanity are a very serious issue and both UN and USA have asked for in-depth investigation and prompt punishment for the culprits. Though president Sirisena had declared to proceed with reconciliation with Tamils and other minority communities, nothing has happened so far to fix the culprits, because Rajapaksha and majority Singhalese community do not want any punishment for their community and military.
Possibly, Sirisena does not want to be seen as a ‘traitor’ of Singhalese community to which he belongs.  This predicament is very similar to Congress government unable to punish the Hindu criminals who demolished historic Babri mosque.
The Sirisena regime has to realize the harm of not punishing the criminals who killed so many Tamils as the collective punishment for the action of a few individuals in LTTE they also inflict on the psyche and life of Tamils who are the target of Singhalese military. Tamils simply cannot forget, let alone forgive, the war crimes committed against their kith and kin by the Rajapaksha military, ill focused on minority communities.
President Sirisena should have announced repentance for the former regime and sought reconciliation with Tamils so that they would forgive the government’s crimes.     
 
Pledge to keep
Crimes – state or private- against minorities is punishable offence. But that the SL government is neither willing nor ready to admit its crimes against Tamils only shows it’s petrified anti Tamil and anti-India mindset is still strong and Lankan military would re-launch the war on Tamils when they want.
The Rajapaksha regime committed the ghastly war crimes against Tamils on the strength of support extended by many sources and the Indo-US fight against so-called terrorism. Now the Sirisena is slow peddling with the investigation of UN, encouraging only a local enquiry to close the war crime file once for all. With a clean chit from the Sirisena regime, Rajapaksha could stage a ‘valiant’ come back.
President Sirisena has a very important pledge to keep as people of Sri Lanka who voted him to presidency by kicking the then president Rajapaksha look forward to his fulfilling his promise of bringing the war criminal to justice. Reconciliation, if any, won’t be genuine if the people, especially Tamils are disappointed by his irresponsibility.
The Sirisena government is duty-bound to bring the war criminals to justice and make Tamil community and others feel free to live on the island.
The UN investigations into Lankan war crimes and punishment of the war criminals would strengthen democracy in the country and discourage war crimes across the globe.
 
The writer is an educationist, investigative journalist, columnist, expert on Mideast affairs, Chancellor-Founder of Center for International Affairs (CIA); author, editor: international opinion issues, Palestine Times: website: http://abdulruff.wordpress.com/ email abdulruff_jnu@yahoo.com;Phone*: 91-8129081217*

Login to post comments


(0)



EDITORIAL
BUSINESS
CULTURE
MISCELLANY
AVIATOUR
LETTERS
LAST WORD
DIARY
METROPOLITAN
COMMENTS
INTERNATIONAL
FOUNDING EDITOR: ENAYETULLAH KHAN; EDITOR: SAYED KAMALUDDIN
Contents Copyrighted © by Holiday Publication Limited
Mailing address 30, Tejgaon Industrial Area, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh.
Phone 880-2-8170462, 8170463, 8170464 Fax 880-2-9127927 Email holiday@bangla.net
Site Managed By: Southtech Limited
Southtech Limited does not take any responsibility for any news content of this site