Human Rights Watch has protested the growing pattern of abuses by the military government in Bangladesh. In response to the nationwide protests, the military has cracked down on students, academics and journalists. One of the five professors who have been taken away by the military in the middle of the night is Dhaka University professor Anwar Hossain. In a letter, his son has appealed for help in ensuring fair treatment for his father. His father is currently on a four day "remand" and is being interrogated by the Bangladesh military. It is quite likely he has been tortured and will be tortured until he "confesses".
I reprint the letter from Dr. Hossain’s son here because those who are holding him will try to dehumanize him. We who stand against torture will not allow that to happen.
Below is the text of the letter from Dr. Anwar Hossain’s son:
Subject: To the honored colleagues and loved students of my father Dr. M. Anwar Hossain who was recently arrested
Dear Sirs, Madams and Students of my father,
My name is is Sanjeeb Hossain. I am writing on behalf of my father Dr. M. Anwar Hossain who has been recently arrested at 12.20 am on August 24, 2007. I am aware that you had known him in different capacities. He is in urgent need of your help now.
The following account is a description of what happened when my father Dr. Anwar Hossain was taken away by the Military Intelligence of the Bangladesh Army:
At 12:15 am on August 24, 2007, we heard the consistent ringing of our doorbell. My father was asleep. My mother went to the door and heard shouts from outside to open it. She opened the door and 8-10 people barged into our house. They were all dressed in civilians clothes and carried heavy arms with them. They told my mother that they had arrived to take my father along with them. My father was asleep at that time. My mother woke him up and told him of what had happened. My father came out of the bedroom and addressed those who had arrived. He was very calm and confident while he spoke to them. He asked as to where he would be taken and how long he would be away from home. They replied saying that my father would be taken to the Shahbagh Thana (Police Station) for interrogation and that they did not know how long he would be away. When we asked them as to who they represented, they said that they were members of the Joint Forces, i.e. the Army. They also told my father, ‘Sir, we are the Bangladesh Army, not the Pakistan Army. We know that you are a patriot. Please be assured that you are in good hands’. We also came to know that two of the people who came were Commandos trained in Fort Bragg and Fort Benning in the US Army. Assuming that my father would not be returning in the next few days, my mother packed a small suitcase with several sets of clothes along with his medicine. It must be noted here that my father is a diabetic patient. This whole incident spanned over roughly 10 to 15 minutes. After this my father was taken away by them.
However yesterday ( August 25, 2007) at 4 pm, it was my father who suddenly called us from a number that we could not trace. I was able to speak with him for 15 seconds. He told me that he would be taken to the Lower court (known as the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Court) and later on to the Shahbagh Police Station. My family along with the family of Dr. Harun Rashid (who has also been taken away like my father) rushed to the CMM court. After a long wait, my father Dr. Anwar Hossain and Dr. Harun Rashid were brought to the Court. The State pleaded that a remand of 10 days be given. At the end of it all, the judge granted 4 days of remand during which my father would be interrogated. I was fortunate enough to stand right beside my father. He gave me some extremely alarming news. He told me that the Army authorities had psychologically tortured him and even went to the extent of physically torturing him.
Being taken into ‘remand; is extremely alarming because ‘remand’ has a bad history in Bangladesh. It gives the State the opportunity to torture its victims and force them to say what they want to hear which is most of the time not true.
You all are aware of my fathers distinguished career as a scientist and academician. The following account will take you to his resume.
As you probably know, there was severe agitation between the students of Dhaka University and the Army along with the police. We are apprehending that the present Non-Party Care Taker Government of Bangladesh is considering Dr. M. Anwar Hossain is an opponent. They probably hold the belief that he along with other renowned teachers of the Dhaka University have conspired and created this agitation. This is absolutely false. It is extremely unfortunate that academician like Dr. M. Anwar Hossain and others are being considered as opponents to the present government and are being falsely accused and tortured.
In this context I would be extremely grateful if you could use your influence to provide my father with any form of assistance and also convey this incident to the appropriate channels. In addition to this, please forward the link of his resume of his resume to the appropriate people. It will give them a picture of what he truly is, i.e. a Teacher a scientist and a researcher, not someone who is conspiring against the present government of Bangladesh. He really needs your help.
Thanking you with a lot of expectation and hope at heart.