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Aug 10

Bangladesh Government forces abduct lawyer Mir Ahmad Bin Quasem; share this and raise your voice now

Repression is the daily life norm in Bangladesh. Words sometimes fail to depict the gravity of what is happening in the country at present, as a widely discredited government continues to brutally root out its opponents amidst shameful silence by the international community. Terrorism is the new big boogeyman, and the government in its evil ingenuity has decided it can sweep all its vile actions under the rug, with terrorism as the excuse. The media have been compliant, in a role that can perfectly be described using Chomsky’s theory of “Manufacturing consent”. Bangladesh meanwhile, is sliding deeper into the throes of a brutal repressive regime, where a knock on the door at night means your family may never see you again.

At 11 pm, on the 9th of August, Mir Ahmad Bin Quasem, a professional lawyer of Bangladesh Supreme Court was picked up by civilian dressed men, put into a white van, and taken away. His father, Mir Quasem Ali, a Jamaat-e-Islami leader, has been sentenced to death on charges of commission of 1971 war crimes (and whose review application relating to this is currently before the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court). Mir Ahmad is also a lawyer in the defence team of the Jamaat leader.

David Bergman, a prominent Bangladesh based journalist, informed the following through his facebook account; (Link: https://www.facebook.com/david.bergman.77377/posts/10154438440903824 )

I just spoke to Tahera Tasnim, the 25 year old sister of Mir Ahmed Bin Quasem (see previous status). Here is what she said about her brother being picked up by plain clothes men at about 11 pm on Tuesday evening:

“At about 11 pm, there was a knock on the door of the rented house in Road 7, DOHS Mirpur where my brother’s lives and where I was just visiting at the time.

“There was a knock on the door. My brother saw through the hole that there was 7 or 8 civilian civilian dressed men there. He first did not open it and sat down on the sofa. He asked his wife to open the door, and my brother said that everyone should behave normally. I was in the kitchen at this point.

“”When the door was opened, the men told my sister in law “Where is your husband”, and my brother then went to the door, and they said “You have to come with us”. My brother asked “Can I have your identity? What is your force?, Are you RAB, CID, DB. What identity do you have.” They did not say what was their identity. He asked several times. They did not wear any uniform and they had no legal arrest warrant. Nothing. They just said, “Come with us”. They did not give any reason why they wanted to take him. They did not say why they were taking, him or where they were taking him. My brother said, “I am lawyer and I need to know these things.” They was arguing going on. And then they said “We will give you five minutes to get ready. Get ready and come with us.”

“I closed the door and my brother said that there was no option but to go with him. His wife and I kept on saying “Please don’t go”. We said, “Lets see what they do. Let the time pass and see what happens.” Then the men started knocking on the door again. We opened the door. His wife became angry and said, “You cant do this.” I said, “You cannot take my brother like this without any identity, in the dead of night. Come in the morning and taken him.”

“I stood in front of my brother and held the hand of one of the plain clothes men who said to him “You can’t take him.’ The man pulled away my hand and grabbed my brother. The women were running behind him. It was total confusion. There was a white microbus and he was put in it. And the vehicle drove away. We don’t know where he has been taken.”

As per facebook statements of his relatives, police have simply refused to register complaints that the lawyer has been abducted by civilian dressed men, leading to fears of the worst kind. The following is statement by sister of abducted lawyer,

No GD has been granted so far from any of Pallabi or Mirpur police station !
To be mentioned that my brother Barrister Mir Ahmad BinQuasem ( Arman) has been taken away forcefully by the law enforcement force tonight around 11pm from his Mirpur DOHS , Road 7 ( rented) residence !
His wife and sister came back trying so hard late at night just for one GD ! Where is our Humanity gone ?? Can anyone explain , plz !!

‪#‎GiveBackBarArman
‪#‎WhereIsHisHumanRight

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Unfortunately, major media have kept largely silent on the issue till now, with Prothom Alo twisting words with a doubtful statement, saying that “Mir Ahmad was alleged to have been taken away”. All major television channels have also kept quiet on the issue, focusing instead on showcasing and broadcasting blaring government advertisements and messages to general people to spy on their neighbours and immediately report anybody they deemed suspicious.

Just a few days earlier, Hummam Quader Chowdhury, son of Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, who was hanged earlier on charges of war crimes, was picked up, abducted and taken away by state security men when he was attending to court matters with his mother. There is yet to be a due explanation provided by the authorities.

Why is all this happening, one may ask? Well, some say that the answer lies in move by the government to detain younger generation of opposition icons and bring them under its control. The recent events of the terrorist attacks in Gulshan are simply turning out to be a red herring, as the government has arrested scores of opposition activists in the name of alleged counter terrorism measures. We do not exactly know who caused the Gulshan attacks, and perhaps we never will, but we know that the government is specifically targeting a strata of people, the opposition members, be they lawyers or normal working class people. And the media are playing a compliant role in terms of manufacturing consent, churning out stories and distorting facts.

It is easy to recollect the collective outrage in the Awami League polity and the government that there were no “Jamaat-BNP” connections to the terrorists, that several of the ‘terrorists’ were actually from families of Awami League members and administration officials. From then onwards, the government has been desperately trying to find and indict opposition members in these attacks. In this, it is again important to stress that the media played an important role in creating ground for what is going on today, as it focused on religious symbology, fundamentalism and religiousity of so called terrorists, subconsciously working towards strengthening the link with religiously affiliated opposition parties such as Jamaat-e-Islam and linking it with religiously extremist organizations such as JMB or Ansarullah Bangla. Moreover, the drift in Daily Star headlines such as “Freeing Mir Quasem Ali is their Goal” meant that such measures by the government are well planned ahead, and will be used to weave together a narrative of nostalgia where alleged war crimes, the tragedy of 1971, present day terrorism, Islamism, religious radicalism and young opposition members will be woven into the same narrative.

Perhaps they believe the world will never notice. And with the loud shameless silence of the international community to the actions of the increasingly authoritarian Bangladesh government and media distortion of events in motion, that is exactly what is happening.

Read, share, create awareness, enlighten. Act.