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Human Rights Experts skeptical about 11,000 Mass Arrests in Bangladesh Regarding Brutal Killings By Suspected IS Militants

Last week, IS militants have claimed responsibility for the deaths of a Hindu monastery worker, an elderly Hindu priest and a Christian merchant

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  • More than 11,000 people were arrested regarding the brutal killings in Bangladesh
  • Human Rights Watch said police are accepting bribes to release many of those detained
  • Bangladesh authorities blame home-grown militants – and in some cases the political opposition for the violence

The recent sweep of arrests in Bangladesh have caught the attention of Human rights experts.

Bangladesh officials say they have arrested more than 11,000 people in a sudden and drastic response to the wave of brutal killings by suspected Islamist militants.

But New York-based Rights group Human Rights Watch is skeptical that this large number of arrests is founded on adequate investigations, or that this will effectively reduce violence in the country.

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“The mass arrest of thousands upon thousands within the course of a few days is a familiar scene in Bangladesh, but does little to inspire confidence either that these ghastly killings will stop or that due process will be followed,” said Brad Adams, Human Rights Watch’s Asia director.

“After a slow and complacent response to these horrific attacks, Bangladesh’s security forces are falling back on old habits and rounding up the ‘usual suspects’ instead of doing the hard work of carrying out proper investigations,” he continued.

The statement released by Human Rights Watch Friday, June 17 cited media reports that say police are accepting bribes to release many of those detained.

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Image Source: The Irish Times (AFP/STRSTR/AFP/Getty)

Police have arrested thousands of people since last Friday in a crackdown on the violence that has targeted more than 30 victims in Bangladesh since early last year, including bloggers, gay rights activists, Christians and Hindus.  Islamic State extremists have claimed responsibility for more than 20 of the killings.

In the past week, IS militants have claimed responsibility for the deaths of a Hindu monastery worker, an elderly Hindu priest and a Christian merchant.  All three were hacked to death. The Muslim wife of a key counter terrorism official was also stabbed and shot dead.

Bangladesh authorities blame home-grown militants – and in some cases the political opposition – for the violence even after IS militants have claimed responsibility.

-prepared by Ajay Krishna (with inputs from VOA), an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: @ajkrish14

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Russia Using World Cup To Gloss Over Its Human Rights Record: Activists

FIFA President Gianni Infantino insists world football's governing body is engaging Russia on the issue

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People play soccer at the Red Square during the 2018 soccer World Cup in Moscow, Russia, June 19, 2018.
People play soccer at the Red Square during the 2018 soccer World Cup in Moscow, Russia, June 19, 2018. VOA

Human rights campaigners say Russia is using the glitz of the World Cup to try to gloss over its deteriorating human rights record — and they want tournament organizer FIFA to use its leverage to force change.

The 12 Russian host cities have enjoyed a World Cup makeover, as Russia presents a friendly face and photogenic scenery to hundreds of thousands of visitors. Tanya Lokshina, Russia program director at Human Rights Watch, is urging visitors to dig a little deeper.

“Our message to the fans is: Take a little time and learn more about the human rights crisis in Russia today, about what is, in fact, happening under the tournament’s glitter.” She described the situation as the biggest crisis since the fall of the Soviet Union.

“Russian citizens are denied their rights to speak freely, to protest freely, and people actually go to jail for posting online things like ‘Crimea is not Russia.'”

 Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov looks out from a defendants' cage as he listens to the verdict at a military court in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don, Aug. 25, 2015.
Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov looks out from a defendants’ cage as he listens to the verdict at a military court in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don, Aug. 25, 2015. VOA

Among those locked up is Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, who criticized Russia’s annexation of Crimea, and is serving a 20-year jail term on terrorism charges.

In the Russian republic of Chechnya, Oyub Titiev, director of the human rights group Memorial, has been detained on drug charges, which his supporters said are false and politically motivated.

Before the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the release of several political prisoners. Campaigners are hoping he may repeat the gesture.

“We got a confirmation from FIFA that the organization’s leadership is engaging on the issue and hoping for a positive resolution,” Lokshina said.

Oyub Titiyev, the head of regional branch of Russian human rights group Memorial, attends a court hearing in Grozny, Russia, March 6, 2018.
Oyub Titiyev, the head of regional branch of Russian human rights group Memorial, attends a court hearing in Grozny, Russia, March 6, 2018. VOA

FIFA President Gianni Infantino insists world football’s governing body is engaging Russia on the issue.

“Concrete progress has been made in terms of human rights and the way we are dealing with human rights questions. Also through football and through an event like the World Cup,” he said in a recent interview.

On the opening day of the World Cup, gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell was arrested after staging a protest outside the Kremlin, calling for an investigation into the torture and disappearance of several gay men in Chechnya. In 2007, Tatchell was attacked in Moscow by neo-Nazis and suffered partial brain damage.

A short walk from the Kremlin lies Diversity House, set up to provide a safe space for LGBTQ and other minorities to watch the games. Pavel Klymenko, of the equality campaign group FARE Network that organized the facility, said it is intended to make a political point.

Russian police detane gay rights activist Peter Tatchell, center, as he holds a banner that reads "Putin fails to act against Chechnya torture of gay people" near Red Square in Moscow, Russia, June 14, 2018.
Russian police detane gay rights activist Peter Tatchell, center, as he holds a banner that reads “Putin fails to act against Chechnya torture of gay people” near Red Square in Moscow, Russia, June 14, 2018. VOA

“This house is a way of saying to everyone — to the footballing world, to the Russian society — that minorities are part of the game, part of society.”

Also read: Canadian Accused Of Helping Russian Intelligence Agents Sentenced To Prison For 5 Years

The fear is that once the fans and footballers return home, Russia’s human rights crackdown may intensify. (VOA)