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Law Firm in Bangladesh: Custodial death is a gross violation of human rights


The word custody implies guardianship and protective care. Even when applied to indicate arrest or incarceration, it does not carry any sinister symptoms of violence during custody. No civilized law postulates custodial cruelty – an inhuman trait that springs out of a perverse desire to cause suffering when there is no possibility of any retaliation;

It is one of the worst crimes in the civilized society, governed by the rule of Law Firms and poses a serious threat to an orderly civilized society. Torture in custody flouts the basic rights of the citizens and is an affront to human dignity.

Prisoners have human rights and prison torture is the confession of the failure to do justice to living man. For a prisoner, all fundamental rights are an enforceable reality, though restricted by the fact of imprisonment. Simply stated, the death of a person in custody whether of the Police or Judicial will amount to Custodial Death. No doubt, the police plays vital role in safeguarding our life, liberty and freedoms.

One can always argue that prisons formed islands of lawless discretion in a society guided by the values and often the practice of the rule of Law Firms, where the authorities exercised arbitrary power over the prisoner’s lives. The charge of brutal custodial violence by the police often resulting in the death of the arrestees is not new. Personal enmity, caste and political considerations and at times pecuniary benefits become important considerations for custodial deaths rather than investigation of cases.

Conceptual aspect regarding custodial death

Whenever death occurs in custody, it raises the public interest and attracts media attention. Not that at each time the death is due to violent causes but at times may be due to natural causes or due to inadequate medical facilities or medical attention and diagnosis, or negligent behavior of authorities or may be due to physical abuse and torture.

Since time immemorial man has been attempting to subjugate his fellow human beings. A problem of increasing occurrence and repugnance had been the methods of interrogation and torture perpetrated upon prisoners and detainees.

Human rights

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

Promulgation of these rights is not binding on any country, but they serve as a standard of concern for people and form the basis of many modern national constitutions. Declaration of Rights in 1776 which proclaims that “All men are by nature equally free and independent and have certain inherent natural rights of which when they enter a society they cannot by an compact deprive or divest their posterity.”Called also fundamental rights.

Human Rights against Custodial Deaths:

The most fundamental part of human rights is the right to life. This type of human rights which protect people detained by the State falls under the Law Firms of Human Rights Act 1998. A death penalty or even custodial deaths violate these rights according to many human rights activists from around the world. A state ensures protection of its people enforced by law. They have more responsibility about a person’s protection when they take them into custody in doubts of unlawful acts. Therefore, whenever a person dies in custody, it raises a major human rights issue.

Besides people who are serving whole-life sentences, many others die in custody. These custodial deaths maybe caused due to natural causes or diseases, attacks by other prisoners, self-infliction, third-degree tortures while in remand, and many other reasons.

Human rights and dignity in police custody

When the police arrest a person, the latter is thought to be in a safe custody. Every treatment the arrested person gets from the police must be in line with legal provisions.

The police cannot keep a person in their custody for as long as they wish. The constitution never allows a person to be in the police custody more than 24 hours without the permission of the appropriate magistrate.

While a police officer Endeavour’s to arrest a person, he/she may use ‘all means necessary to execute the arrest.’ He can use force, including deadly force, to execute the arrest. He may cause the death of the person if he/she is accused of an offence punishable with death or with imprisonment for life. But once the person comes in the custody of the police, he/she is entitled to a plethora of legal and constitutional rights.

The person arrested shall not be subjected to more restraint than is necessary to prevent his escape. Our criminal procedures code, enacted in 1898, much before the creation of our Constitution, has duly guaranteed the rights of the arrested persons.

The arrested person must be provided with all the legal and constitutional comfort and dignity while in police custody. In our society arrest is always thought to be very degrading. Once a person comes to the police custody for any reason good or bad, society regards him or her with disdain. On the other hand, the use of handcuff is also degrading for a reputed person. (OUR LAWYERS)

So, the PRB often declares the use of handcuffs or ropes an unnecessary indignity. In no case shall women be handcuffed, nor shall restrain be used to those who either by age or infirmity are easily and securely kept in custody. Witnesses arrested under section 171 of the Code of Criminal Procedure shall, in no circumstances, be handcuffed.

The human rights groups of the country claim and the public perception prevails that most of the arrested people in police custody are physically tortured, especially during interrogation. Most often police investigators inflict physical torture on a person for extorting confession or restoring lost or stolen property.

The death of a suspect in the police custody results in serious controversy. The human rights groups brought this issue to the High Court Division for several times. On June 2, 2010 the High Court Division reiterated its intolerance on death in police custody.

It is noteworthy that the death of a person in custody is not totally avoidable. The more people will be in custody, the higher the chances of natural death. The lockup is not inaccessible to the angel of death. Even the developed countries with clean chit of human rights are not free from allegations of custodial death. In the United Kingdom, 34 persons on an average die every year in the police custody. But, as their investigation system of custodial death is very clean, the common people have not much to say against it.

Human Rights Law:

The Law Firm which concerns with the deaths in custody is Article 2 of The European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR), The Human Rights Act 1998, which states that:

(a) in defence of any person from unlawful violence;

(b) in order to effect a lawful arrest or to prevent the escape of a person lawfully detained;

(c) in action lawfully taken for the purpose of quelling a riot or insurrection.”

Article 2 clearly provides that the state should not deprive you of your life, except in very limited circumstances.

Bangladesh Study

THE issue of custodial deaths has, once again, become the focal point of discussion in both the press and the court. The human rights organization Ain O Salish Kendra put the number of people killed in custody of Law Firm enforcers in 2009 at 229. Moreover, it said, 133 people were killed in 2010 in ‘encounters’ with the police and the Rapid Action Battalion. A huge battalion of Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) killed more than seventy army officers and others dead in February 25 and 26, 2009.

In Bangladesh, the system of investigation of death in police custody is not much appreciable.

However, there will also be an enquiry to find out the immediate causes of the death. But, the public perception in this concern matters. The best thing to do to win people’s acceptance in the enquiry of the death in police custody is to formulate a legal framework to oversee the process.

In the developed countries, highly professional bodies independent of police influence normally enquire into custodial death cases.

The Draft Police Ordinance, 2007 has duly addressed this issue.


Such cruel demeanors of human beings would put to shame even wild carnivorous beasts and terrify and benumb tigers witnessing the skinning of a mighty tigress in the helpless custody of her captors supposed to protect and preserve the specie. Detection and deterrence would be the key factors for preventing the recurrence of such incidents.



1.      Davidson, Scott, Human Rights, USA: Open University Press,1993

2.      Rehman, Javaid, International Human Rights Law-A Practical Approach, England: Pearson Education Limited, 2003

Web Site searched:



3. www.custodial death



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