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PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF BANGLADESH:
EXACT WHEREABOUTS UNKNOWN, HEALTH CONCERN

Update info:
20 Jul 2016
Country:
PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF BANGLADESH
Subject:
Hasnat Karim
Gender m/f: m
Period:
19 Aug 2016
Distribution date:
20 Jul 2016
UA No:
163/2016

Hasnat Karim, his wife and two children were among the surviving hostages from a recent attack in a restaurant in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, on 1 July. The family was then taken into custody by the Police Detective Branch for questioning. His wife and children were released on 3 July but Hasnat Karim has not been seen since 2 July. His family has not been informed of his exact whereabouts or the reasons for any ongoing detention.

Hasnat Karim, previously a part-time lecturer at North South University in Dhaka and now a businessman, took his wife and two children for dinner at the Holey Artisan Bakery in the Gulshan area on 1 July. At around 21.20, the restaurant was stormed by gunmen who killed more than 20 people that night, including 18 foreigners and two Bangladeshis. According to Hasnat Karim’s wife, Sharmina Parveen (Shoma), the family was released from the restaurant the next morning at around 07.00 and met by the police.

On leaving the restaurant, police personnel took the family and other hostages to a nearby building before taking them to the Detective Branch of Police head office for questioning. Hasnat Karim was separated from his family that evening and put in a room with another male hostage. According to Shoma, she was placed in another room with the children and questioned by police about the attack at the restaurant. They were not given a change of clothes which relatives had brought for them. Hasnat Karim was also made to sleep on a straight-backed chair. Shoma only saw her husband briefly on 2 July. On 3 July, she and the children were released from the Detective Branch but she did not see her husband again.

Hasnat Karim has a stent in his heart and may be in need of medical treatment. His family is extremely concerned about his wellbeing. They have given his medicine to the police but are unsure if the police then gave it to him. They have gone every day since 3 July to the Detective Branch to ask about his whereabouts and health. The police have said he is under their custody but have so far refused to provide them with any further information, including the exact place and reasons of detention, and even asked Hasnat Karim’s mother, Hosne ara Karim, why she believes he is at the Detective Branch head office.

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

On the evening of 1 July, gunmen stormed the Holey Artisan Bakery restaurant in the Gulshan area of Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. The attackers killed 20 hostages during the siege that lasted the whole night, including 18 foreigners and two Bangladeshis. According to news reports, at least 13 other hostages survived the attack.

In the past three years, violent groups in Bangladesh have targeted and killed scores of secular bloggers, activists, academics and members of religious minorities for their writings and activities seen as “insulting Islam.” Last year two foreigners were also killed. So far no one has been brought to justice for these killings except in the case of blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider who was killed in 2013.

UA: 163/16 Index: ASA 13/4420/2016 Issue Date: 8 July 2016

Take action

Please write immediately in Bangla, English or your own language:

  • Expressing concern that Hasnat Karim and his family have not been informed of the reasons of detention and urging the authorities to immediately establish his fate and whereabouts and inform his family;
  • Urging them to ensure that he has immediate access to his family, a lawyer and to any medical attention he may require;
  • Calling them to immediately release Hasnat Karim unless he is promptly charged with an internationally recognizable criminal offense and presented immediately before a court.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 19 AUGUST 2016 TO:
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina
Prime Minister’s Office
Old Sangshad Bhaban, Tejgaon 1215
Dhaka, Bangladesh
Fax: +880 2 9133722
Email: info@pmo.gov.bd
Salutation: Dear Prime Minister

Inspector General of Police
A K M Shahidul Hoque
Police Headquarters 6
Phoenix Road, Fulbaria 1000
Dhaka, Bangladesh
Fax: +880-2-9563362
Email: ig@police.gov.bd
Salutation: Dear Inspector General

And copies to:
State Minister
Ministry of Home Affairs
Bangladesh Secretariat, Building-8 (1st & 3rd Floor)
Dhaka, Bangladesh
Fax: +880 2 9573711
Email: stateminister@mha.gov.bd

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.