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Law Firm: Custodial Death is a gross violation of Human Rights – Explain & Illustrate


Every day we met with some bad news much death some death are natural death, some are accidental death, and some death belong to violation of human right like custodial death. Whenever we go through daily newspaper or news on broadcast media or internet, one of the most common topics we can find is death in custody. This is something that we get to hear about most often from people surrounding us, it’s happened from long time not only in Bangladesh but also in whole world. In every society there are certain rules based on which the society moves ahead.

In most of the cases the police get the duty to look after the prisoners.

The police play a vital role in keeping the society safe and secured (1). So they always should be active in arresting the criminals and in punishing them. These are: custodial death and human rights.

What is custodial death?

When the criminals are kept in the prison, they become the prey of custodial violence. Custodial violence means torturing of police on the prisoners. Torture is sometimes necessary and is authorized by the government to control the jailbird people who become very offensive. Some prisoners are kept in the prison to provide valuable information to the police about their gang. This is called remand (2).


1. It is the duty of all the people in a society to keep it safe. But as a representative of the government, the police have the responsibility more than any other people to look after the society and to stop crime. They have the authority of the police to take care of the people of the society.

2. In many cases the criminals are not likely to co operate the police in diminishing the crime from the society. Then the court orders the police to take the prisoner in the jail and torture him/her to find out the information necessary to find out other criminals.

It might happen that the criminal is not concurring to provide the desired information to the police. In that case the police might increase the level of torture but can never kill the criminal.

There is no doubt that the police play a vital part in safe keeping the life of the general people and to do that they must have to take necessary action against any kind of unlawful activity. But at the same time they have to be responsible to the Law Firm as well.

They must show respect to the human rights of all the people. The police should always remember that like all other people they are also under the law and not above it. They must be liable for any kind of breach of law. Any kind of brutal action in the prison by the police might cause the death of the prisoner and the police must be liable for that.

Many people might say that the criminals violate the Law Firm and make the life of the general people like hell. So there is no need to show lawful behavior toward them in the custody. But this is not solution of the problem. The criminals should go through the legal procedure of the law and find what they deserve. Custodial deaths are very much related to the random arrest and custodial violence of the criminals. The acts is always discouraged by Law Firm.

What is human right?

Before discussing about the violation of Human Rights, let’s know the definition of “Human Rights”. “Human Rights” are referred to fundamental rights which humans have by the fact of being human and which are neither created nor can be abrogated by any government. Supported by several international conventions and treaties (such as the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948), these include Right to get food, Right to get clothes, Right to get shelter, Right to get education,   Right to get treatment, Right to get proper judgment.

Economic and political rights, such as right to life, liberty, cultural, and equality before Law Firm and right of association, belief, free speech, information, religion, movement and nationality.

Human Rights refer to inherent, universal rights of human beings regardless of jurisdiction or other factors, such as ethnicity, The idea of human rights descended from the philosophical idea of natural rights; some recognize no difference between the two and regard both as labels for the same thing while others choose to keep the terms separate to eliminate association with some features traditionally associated with natural rights.

Custodial Death According To Bangladesh
  • On July 6th 2010, three police officers of Darus Salam Police Station have been suspended following the death of an alleged drug peddler in police custody. The suspension order was for Sub Inspector Hekmatullah, Assistant Sub Inspector Moshiur Rahman and another ASI Abu Sayem. The Police on July 1 arrested Mojibur Rahman, 45, for his alleged involvement with drug peddling. His body was recovered from the Turag River adjacent to the police station on the following day.
  • On July 4th 2010, two Sub Inspectors of Gulshan Police station were closed to the Rajarbagh Police Lines following the death of Mizanur Rahman, who died in police custody. His relatives alleged that the police killed Mizanur for not giving bribes. The police claimed that he had died while mugging
  • An auto rickshaw driver was killed in police custody on June 28th, 2010.
  • But Keraniganj Police claimed that he committed suicide. Keraniganj Police Chief Md. Asaduzzaman, Sub Inspectors Zahidur Rahman and Harunur Rashid have been accused in this case. On February 1, Keraniganj Police said 38 years old Manik, detained in connection with the murder of a woman, had hung himself in the toilet of Police.Station

Rapid Action Battalion is an elite anti crime and anti terrorism unit of Bangladesh Police constituted amending the Armed Police Battalion Ordinance, 1979. Under the command of Inspector General of Police (IGP) it consists of Bangladesh Police, Bangladesh Army, Bangladesh Navy, Bangladesh Air Force, Border Guards Bangladesh and Bangladesh Ansar.

It was formed on 26 March 2004 and started its operation from 14 April 2004. Since its establishment, the RAB has seized huge numbers of illegal arms and ammunition (3), it has also had many notable arrests (4). Still the RAB had to face strong and extreme criticism from different human rights organizations. Amnesty International criticized RAB’s lack of accountability as it has been responsible for numerous deaths which have been attributed to “Crossfire”.


3.RAB has seized approximately a total of 3,149 illegal arms and 36,000 rounds of ammunition.

4.RAB successfully arrested notorious Bangla bhai and Shaiokh Abdur Rahman. Not only these two but RAB also arrested many more notorious terrorists and drug dealers.

In March 2010, the battalion leader stated that they have killed 622 people due to “Crossfire” while some human rights organizations claim that this number is over than one thousand. There have also been many reports of torture (5). According to media reports, local and international human rights organizations and the govt. the RAB killed 41 persons during the year of 2009 and 68 persons in the year of 2008.

The deaths, some under unusual circumstances, occurred during raids, arrests and other Law Firm enforcement operations or in some cases while the accused were in custody. The govt. often described these deaths as “Crossfire”, “Gunfight” or “Encounter Killings”. These terms are used to characterize exchanges of gunfire between the RAB or Police and criminal gangs.

The following is the statistic of custodial death in Bangladesh in recent years:
Year Number of death
2010 At least 64 people
2009 At least 54 people by both police and RAB
2008 More than 100 people
2007 At least 130 people


Violation of Human Rights

Human Rights legislation commonly contains several rights. One of those rights is security rights (6). Security rights are those that protect people against crimes such as murder, massacre, torture and rape.


5. Staff correspondent, Rajshahi, “Torture marks found on victim’s body”, The Daily Star 21 May. 2007

6. Human Rights legislation commonly contains seven rights. These are (a) security rights (b) liberty rights (c) political rights (d) due process rights (e) equality rights (f) welfare rights (g) group rights. Security right is relevant to our discussion.

7. Article 3 of UDHR (Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

8 Articles 5 of UDHR(Universal Declaration of Human Rights )

It is clear that our Constitution provides our lives with proper protection. In the above mentioned articles we see that, in no way no one should be beaten or punished or tortured till death. But from our previous scenarios we see that, Police or RAB tortured accused persons in their custody till death, which was clearly a violation of human rights and our Constitution. But article 35 (5) of our constitution strictly prohibited this practice.

Our Government Have To Do

These are as follows:

1.      The government should implement current laws regarding custodial death. There should be laws regarding custodial death. The only thing that needs to do is the government should apply those laws.

2.      Sometimes the existing laws might not be sufficient to stop custodial death. In that case the Government of country should formulate new rule and regulation to stop this unauthorized action.



Ohchr. 20.02.2001 <>

Wikipedia 20.02.2011 <>

Articlebasem20.02.2011> retrieved on 21

February 2011> retrieved on 21 February 2011 > retrieved on 22 February

Peter Jones, Rights, Palgrave Macmillan, 1994, p. 73

Khan. Arif. International Law And Human Rights Dhaka, 2007

The Constitution of The People’s Republic of Bangladesh

“Torture marks found on victim’s body”. The Daily Star 21 May 2007


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