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Bangladesh

  |  1 Jul 2016

Unchanged

Controversial counter-terrorism efforts exacerbated tensions between ruling Awami League and opposition Bangladesh National Party (BNP) as target killings continued. Hindu priest killed 7 June by attackers in Jhenidah Sadar sub-district; Hindu temple volunteer hacked to death 10 June in Babna Sadar sub-district. Islamic State (IS) reportedly claimed responsibility for both attacks. In first apparent instance of extremist retaliation against police, wife of senior police official hacked to death in Chittagong 5 June. Police 7 June killed three suspected Jamaat Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) militants in Dhaka, Rajshahi and Brahmanbaria. Govt 10 June launched weeklong crackdown on jihadist groups, reportedly arresting over 11,000 people; civil society activists claimed mass extortion by police during operation, while opposition accused govt of using counter-militancy efforts as pretext to target political opponents, reporting that majority of detainees were BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) activists. PM Sheikh Hasina insisted “BNP-Jamaat clique” had replaced previous mass street agitation with “secret killings” to destabilise country. Police 6 June pressed new charges against BNP leader Khaleda Zia and 38 other BNP figures in arson cases from Feb 2015 violent govt-opposition clashes. International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) 6 June upheld Nov 2014 conviction and sentencing of senior JeI member Mir Quasem Ali for atrocities committed during 1971 war of independence. High Court 7 June granted bail to Daily Star editor, Mahfuz Anam in ten out of 82 sedition and defamation charges brought against him after he admitted to publishing uncorroborated reports on PM Sheikh Hasina’s alleged corruption. Six-phase local council polls concluded 4 June, with a record of over 120 people killed in election-related violence before and during polls; most deaths reportedly linked to intra-Awami League clashes.

Bangladesh

  |  1 Jun 2016

Unchanged
Brutal extremist killings continued: Sufi spiritual leader hacked to death in Rajshahi 6 May; Buddhist monk found murdered in temple in Chittagong Hill Tracts Bandarban district 14 May; homeopathic doctor and secularist killed in machete attack in Kushtia town in west Bangladesh 20 May, reportedly claimed by IS; Hindu man found hacked to death in Gaibandha 25 May, police suspected local extremist group. Police 14 May reported two suspects, members of Ansarullah Bangla Team, identified for role in 25 April double murder of LGBT activist and his friend, one of the suspects arrested next day; 16 May claimed detained operative of extremist Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh had confessed to involvement in 23 April killing of university professor. High court 5 May declared sixteenth constitutional amendment, passed in 2014 to restore parliament’s power to impeach higher court judges through two-thirds majority, violated principle of separation of powers and judicial independence and therefore unconstitutional; law minister said govt would appeal decision to Supreme Court. Police 11 May filed fresh charges against BNP chief Khaleda Zia and 26 other BNP leaders/activists for arson attacks during violent govt-opposition standoff in early 2015, fifth such case against Zia. Police 15 May arrested BNP joint Sec Gen Aslam Chowdhuri for allegedly plotting coup in collusion with Israeli intelligence; Chowdhuri and BNP denied allegations. Meeting with U.S. officials 16 May, BNP leaders appealed for U.S. support to ensure 2019 election free and fair. Controversial International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) 3 May convicted five men of murder, torture and abductions during 1971 liberation war, sentencing four to death and one to life imprisonment. Jamaat chief Motiur Rahman Nizami executed 11 May provoking Jamaat street protests and fresh diplomatic tensions with Pakistan, which summoned Bangladeshi envoy in protest; Bangladesh condemned Islamabad’s “interference”. Dhaka 16 May lodged protest with Myanmar over recent reported mortar shell attacks into Bangladesh, including 12 May shelling of Border Guard Bangladesh camp from area where Myanmar security forces are fighting ethnic armed group.

Bangladesh

  |  2 May 2016

Deteriorated

Several brutal murders during month underscored growing power and impunity of violent extremist groups. Law student and secular blogger Nazimuddin Samad hacked to death in Dhaka 6 April; al-Qaeda-linked Ansarullah Bangla Team claimed responsibility. Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal 10 April called on secular bloggers to “control” their writing, strongly criticised those writing against “religious establishment”. In 14 April address to party leaders and workers PM Hasina condemned writing that “hurt religious sentiments” as “unacceptable”, however stressed Islam does not allow individuals to murder alleged blasphemers. Jagannath University students 7 April protested over govt inaction following Samad’s killing. University professor Rezaul Karim Siddiquee hacked to death NW of Dhaka 23 April; Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility. Two people including LGBT magazine editor and activist Xulhaz Mannan hacked to death in Dhaka 25 April; govt blamed opposition Bangladesh National Party (BNP) and Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI), al-Qaeda affiliate Ansar al-Islam 26 April claimed responsibility. Hindu man hacked to death in Tangail 30 April; IS claimed responsibility, authorities 1 May detained secretary of local JeI group, local BNP activist and local madrasa over killing. Violent clashes around second phase of local elections continued early-April, including between rival supporters of Awami League (AL) and between supporters of AL and BNP; more than 30 party activists reported killed. BNP leader Khaleda Zia, granted bail 5 April “considering her age and physical condition”, following 30 March arrest warrant over alleged role in firebomb attack during Jan 2015 opposition blockade. Senior police official 17 April said daily Amar Desh acting editor Mahmudur Rahman (detained in 2013 on charges of sedition, defamation and corruption) accused of plotting to abduct and murder PM Hasina’s son Sajeeb Wazed Joy.

Bangladesh

  |  1 Apr 2016

Unchanged
First round of local elections 22 March saw at least eleven killed and over 500 reported injured in election-related violence, reportedly including by Awami League (AL) supporters who, fearing local party losses, attacked police taking ballot boxes; opposition Bangladesh National Party (BNP) contested local polls despite alleging widespread rigging ahead of vote. BNP leader Khaleda Zia and son Tarique Rahman won chair and senior vice-chair positions respectively in uncontested BNP internal elections 7 March. At 19 March triennial national council meeting between BNP leaders to discuss reforms and elect council, Zia pledged BNP would, if voted to office, introduce “new govt model” for better balance of power between PM, cabinet, and parliament; called for transparency in appointments to constitutional bodies. Ahead of meeting, party leaders considered revising party manifesto to explicitly reject “extremism and religious militancy”, in apparent bid to counter criticism of having turned a blind eye while in govt. Court 30 March issued arrest warrant for Zia and 27 other BNP officials over role in instigating firebomb attack during opposition blockade Jan 2015; court 10 March cleared BNP acting Sec Gen and 25 other members of BNP-led 20-party alliance of arson charges over alleged election-related violence in Jan 2014. Shia doctor hacked to death in Jhenaidah district of Khulna Division 15 March, Christian man stabbed to death north of Dhaka 22 March; Islamic State reportedly claimed both attacks. Raids on suspected Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) cells continued, including paramilitary Rapid Action Battalion’s arrest of five alleged JMB members 13 March in Dhaka. Supreme Court 8 March upheld International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) death penalty for senior Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) member Mir Quasem Ali, believed to be party’s main financier. ICT 15 March issued death warrant for JeI chief Motiur Rahman Nizami.

Bangladesh

  |  1 Mar 2016

Unchanged

Political atmosphere remained relatively calm, however govt continued to target opposition and dissenting voices. Fifteen opposition Bangladesh National Party (BNP) and Jamaat-e-Islami activists sentenced 2 Feb to life imprisonment over alleged political violence in 2013; over 100 BNP leaders including acting secretary general indicted mid Feb over violence during BNP blockade early 2015. BNP 12 Feb announced it will contest local elections 22 March, and hold party national council also in March. Awami League (AL) parliamentarians and PM Sheikh Hasina’s son Sajeeb Wazed Joy 6 Feb urged prosecutors to try Daily Star Editor Mahfuz for treason, after he publicly apologised for publishing stories about then-opposition leader Hasina’s alleged corruption; international press freedom organisations called on govt to end Mahfuz’s harassment. Editor of pro-BNP newspaper arrested in bomb blast case. Suspected Islamist militants 21 Feb fatally stabbed Hindu priest near Panchagarh; Islamic State claimed responsibility, however police said militant group Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen (JMB) behind attack, arrested four. Police launched several raids on suspected extremist hideouts, recovering large amounts of weapons and explosives. International Crimes Tribunal 2 Feb sentenced two to death for alleged crimes during 1971 independence war. Relations with Pakistan deteriorated further; Pakistan embassy official detained for several hours 1 Feb for “suspicious movement”; Pakistan responded by detaining Bangladeshi embassy official for same amount of time; ambassadors to both countries were summoned by foreign ministries following incident.

Bangladesh

  |  1 Feb 2016

Unchanged

On second anniversary of controversial 2014 elections 5 Jan, both ruling Awami League (AL) party and opposition Bangladesh National Party (BNP) staged large rallies, notably without violent clashes. BNP party leaders reportedly claimed party will concentrate on reorganisation. BNP contested local polls in 234 municipalities 30 Dec, securing 21 seats; AL won 179 seats amid allegations of widespread rigging. Around 50 candidates boycotted elections, another 36 pulled out on election day due to alleged rigging. Journalists covering polls clashed with ruling party activists, at least fifteen injured, numerous others threatened. AL hailed elections as “free and fair”, BNP criticised process but decided against staging protests. Court 25 Jan ordered BNP party leader Khaleda Zia to appear in court in March over sedition charges. Supreme Court 6 Jan upheld death sentence for Jamaat-e-Islami chief Motiur Rahman Nizmi, convicted for 1971 war crimes. Govt 12 Jan issued review petition to Supreme Court seeking death penalty for top Jamaat-e-Islami member Delwar Hossain Sayedee, also charged with 1971 war crimes. Court 18 Jan jailed five militants from banned Islamist group Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen (JMB) over 2005 bombings. Deterioration in relations with Pakistan which began following Pakistani criticisms of Nov 2015 executions of two opposition leaders sentenced by International Crimes Tribunal continued; Pakistani govt 5 Jan demanded withdrawal of Bangladeshi senior diplomat from high commission in Islamabad. Islamic State (IS) reportedly claimed responsibility for murder of Christian convert in Jhenaidah 7 Jan.

Bangladesh

  |  4 Jan 2016

Unchanged

Govt continued clampdown on dissent, including with ban on several social media sites. During Facebook ban police arrested three for making “derogatory” remarks against govt; ban lifted 10 Dec, paramilitary Rapid Action Battalion same day arrested administrator of satirical Facebook page Refayet Ahmed for “campaigning against the government and state”, released four days later. Further signs of rising extremism, with two temples in northern district Dinajpur attacked 5 and 10 Dec; former attack involved timed bomb, two shot dead in latter. At least six including three naval officers wounded following two explosions at two mosques at Chittagong naval base 18 Dec; two men arrested. Alleged Islamist extremist Jamaat-ul-Mujahedin Bangladesh (JMB) member 8 Dec admitted Oct killing of Japanese national; another JMB member reportedly admitted to Nov attack on Italian priest. Security Forces arrested seven suspected JMB militants in Dhaka 24 Dec; 28 Dec killed two alleged JMB militants in raid outside Dhaka. Police 15 Dec attributed recent attacks including on foreigners and Hindu temples to JMB, claimed no evidence of Islamic State (IS) link despite IS public claims of responsibility. Calls 16 Decby several civil society organisations for Bangladesh to cut bilateral ties after Pakistan dismissed claims of genocide during 1971 war of independence from Pakistan. Dhaka-based Pakistani diplomat withdrawn 23 Dec after local media reported links to detained JMB operative; Pakistan said charges “baseless”.

Bangladesh

  |  1 Dec 2015

Deteriorated

Crackdown on opposition continued, with leaders Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid (secretary general of Jamaat-e-Islami) and Salauddin Quader Chowdhury (former Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) member) executed 22 Nov, both convicted by International Crimes Tribunal of committing war crimes during 1971 war of independence. Supreme Court 17 Nov had rejected final appeals against death sentences, govt increased security across country, tensions high amid concerns about Islamist backlash. BNP acting Secretary General Mirza Fakrul Islam Alamgir again taken into custody 3 Nov, with 89 charges pending against him; arrest warrants issued for three BNP leaders in cases related to political violence same day. Gunmen shot and seriously injured Italian pastor and physician in Dinajpur district 18 Nov; Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility, heightening concerns about foreigners’ safety. Security personnel also targeted; one police killed, four injured by gunmen outside capital 4 Nov. One dead and three wounded following attack on mosque in Bogra district 26 Nov; IS claimed responsibility. Govt continues to deny IS presence in Bangladesh. Following late Oct deadly extremist attack on publishers, two prominent writers/scholars received death threats during month.

Bangladesh

  |  2 Nov 2015

Unchanged

Publisher of secular books hacked to death and three others injured in two separate attacks in Dhaka 31 Oct, claimed by al-Qaeda-linked Ansar al-Islam group. Gunmen on motorcycle shot dead Japanese national in Rangpur district north of Dhaka 3 Oct, days after deadly shooting of Italian national Cesare Tavella in Dhaka 28 Sept. Islamic State reportedly claimed responsibility for murders; PM Sheikh Hasina 4 Oct denied Islamic State (IS) responsibility, blamed local BNP-Jamaat alliance; both parties strongly refuted allegations. Several key diplomatic missions issued heightened security alerts. Several suspects arrested in Tavella killing, reportedly said they were hired to carry out killing to “create chaos”. Two other attacks 5 Oct, allegedly by banned Islamist extremist Jamaat-ul-Mujahedin Bangladesh (JMB) also reinforced concerns of rising extremism: former govt official-turned Sufi spiritual guide murdered in his Dhaka home, and attempted murder of pastor in Pabna city. At least one person killed in blasts attacking Shiite Ashura procession in Dhaka 24 Oct; IS claimed responsibility. Several media outlets 19 Oct said they received email threats signed by Ansarullah Bangla Team warning them of “severe action” if they publish reports on murders of atheist bloggers or their beliefs. International Crimes Tribunal 1 Oct issued death warrants against Jamaat-e-Islami leader Ali Ahsan Muhammad Majid and BNP minister Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury, convicted of war crimes during 1971 liberation war. Police clashed with supporters of Awami League MP Manjurul Islam Liton 15 Oct; at least twenty injured. Member of Village Defence Police killed during encounter with unidentified “terrorists” during security operation in Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) 18 Oct; security officials suspect link to Myanmar’s separatist “Arakan Liberation Army”.

Bangladesh

  |  1 Oct 2015

Unchanged

Opposition Bangladesh National Party (BNP) 7 Sept claimed govt engaging in enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings, said six BNP members taken by police 22-30 Aug. National newspaper 1 Sept listed 22,000 court cases against BNP members including party leader Khaleda Zia and her son Tarique Rahman, reported around 17,000 workers and activists currently in detention. Court 17 Sept rejected Zia’s petition to quash charges of corruption during her previous tenure as PM. International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) 8 Sept tried nine more accused of war crimes during 1971 independence war, dismissed charges against three, in first such acquittals. High court 14 Sept nullified 2003 Indemnity Law, passed by then BNP-Jamaat govt; 2003 law indemnified security personnel involved in controversial Oct 2002-Jan 2003 military/police “operation clean heart” in which over 11,000 were arrested and 40 died in custody. Police 1 Sept charged five suspected militants with murder of atheist blogger Washiqur Rahman, 10 Sept arrested Ansar Bangla Team (ABT) chief over series of killings. Army and Border Guard Bangladesh late-Aug/early-Sept launched first joint operation with Myanmar armed forces against separatist insurgents operating near border.

Bangladesh

  |  1 Sep 2015

Unchanged

Attacks on freedom of expression intensified, with fourth murder of secular blogger and further actions by executive and judiciary pressuring journalists and human rights activists. Secular blogger Niladri Chattopadhyay (Niloy Neel) hacked to death in Dhaka 7 Aug, fourth such killing in 2015. Ansar ul Islam, linked to al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), claimed responsibility; several members of radical Islamist Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT) arrested in connection with killing. Three other ABT members arrested 17 Aug in connection with killings of bloggers Avijit Roy in Feb and Ananta Bijoy Das in May. Dhaka police 2 Aug released statement accusing prominent human rights organisations Odhikar and Bangladesh Human Rights Commission of acting illegally by reporting extrajudicial killings allegedly committed by police. Police 17 Aug arrested journalist Probir Sikdar for defamation against Minister Khandker Mosharraf Hossain in social media (Facebook) post. High Court 5 Aug rejected opposition BNP leader Khaleda Zia’s challenge to legality of 2007 graft case. Police 10 Aug arrested six BNP leaders in Savar, 31 BNP leaders and activists in Khuln, charged with subversive activities; 18 Aug arrested BNP’s chief advisor Shawkat Mahmud on arson charges. Jana Samhati Samiti (JSS) activists 15 Aug clashed with security forces in Rangmati, five JSS killed. Bangladesh and India 31 July exchanged control over 160 enclaves in historic land swap; residents previously considered stateless will be able to choose where they want to live and their citizenship.

Bangladesh

  |  3 Aug 2015

Unchanged

Amid allegations of corruption and criminality, and accusations of inept and repressive governance, PM Sheikh Hasina mid-July undertook major cabinet reshuffle, reportedly considering action against corrupt ministers, Awami League (AL) parliamentarians, advisers, and senior/mid-level party members. Senior leader of Jubo League, AL’s youth wing, expelled mid-July over extortion allegations. Cabinet 13 July approved draft “Public Services Act, 2015”, requiring law enforcers to obtain govt permission before filing charges against public officials; prompted criticism from civil society groups. Addressing parliament 7 July, PM Hasina said special tribunal would be formed to try cases against Zia and 37 other Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) members under 2009 Anti-Terrorism Act. BNP’s acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, arrested Jan on charges of vandalism and arson, released on bail 14 July. Zia appeared before court trying two graft cases against her 23 July. Former telecommunications minister Abdul Latif Siddique, charged with hurting religious sentiments, released on bail 29 June; some Islamist parties and groups mobilised demanding death sentence. Police 27 July arrested eight suspected extremists including Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen head. Controversial International War Crimes Tribunal 1 July decided to try Razakar (militia) commander and three other militia members accused of committing atrocities during 1971 independence war; 16 July sentenced a Jamaat-i-Islami leader to death for war crimes; Supreme Court 29 July upheld death sentence against former minister and senior BNP member Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, convicted by ICT in 2013.

Bangladesh

  |  1 Jul 2015

Unchanged

Fallout of Jan-April violent confrontation between AL and opposition Bangladesh National Party (BNP) continued. Dhaka court 8 June issued arrest warrants for 28 leaders and activists of BNP-led opposition alliance; 22 June issued arrest warrants for senior BNP leader and 32 other party officials for violence during BNP-led strike and transport blockade late Jan. High Court 18 June directed BNP leader Khaleda Zia to surrender in two months to trial court, rejecting her petition challenging legality of graft case. International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) 9 June awarded death penalty in absentia to former militia leader Hasan Ali for war crimes committed during 1971 liberation war. High court 16 June upheld Jamaat secretary general Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed’s death sentence for similar crimes; Jamaat responded with call for 24-hour countrywide hartal (strike), largely ignored. Several media reports of increased activism by religious extremists and recruitment on college campuses, continued attacks on religious minority symbols, including desecration of Hindu idols in Bogra 1 June. Indian PM Modi visited Dhaka 6-7 June for joint ratification ceremony of historic land swap agreement ending decades-old border dispute between countries, representing significant political victory for PM Sheikh Hasina; also extended new $2bn line of credit. Modi met Zia, who reportedly raised AL’s failure to uphold democratic principles and rule of law, assured Modi that a BNP govt would seek good relations with India. Govt under continuing pressure to take steps to stop human trafficking, including by protecting victims, taking action against traffickers.

Bangladesh

  |  1 Jun 2015

Unchanged

Opposition BNP leader Zia and 37 other BNP leaders charged 7 May with murder and arson for 23 Jan attack on bus in which one person died and 27 injured; first time that Zia has been charged in criminal (rather than corruption) case. Among those charged is BNP joint Secretary Salahuddin Ahmed, who went missing two months ago and reappeared 10 May in India. Masked men attacked and killed secular blogger and editor Ananta Bijoy Das 12 May, third blogger to be hacked to death in 2015. Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) 3 May issued video claiming responsibility for Avijit Roy’s murder, killed in Dhaka 26 Feb. Controversial International Crimes Tribunal 20 May sentenced to life imprisonment Muslim League members Mahidur Rahman and Afsar Hossain Chutu for crimes committed during 1971 independence war. Indian parliament 7 May unanimously ratified 1974 Land Boundary Agreement; agreement, hailed by both PM Sheikh Hasina’s govt and BNP opposition as historic, paves way for exchange of land on each other’s territory, potentially affecting 51 Bangladeshi enclaves in India and 100 Indian enclaves in Bangladesh, home to more than 50,000 people.

Bangladesh

  |  30 Apr 2015

Unchanged

After Dhaka court granted her bail in two corruption cases, opposition Bangladesh National Party (BNP) leader Khaleda Zia returned home 5 April, ending 92-day confinement in her Dhaka office. Police prevented Zia’s supporters from carrying out rally upon her return. Court scheduled next hearing for 5 May. Ahead of 28 April Dhaka and Chittagong mayoral elections, in which BNP decided to back candidates, assailants 20 April attacked Zia’s motorcade during Dhaka campaign rally, injuring some of her security entourage and journalists; BNP called for nationwide strike, excluding Dhaka and Chittagong. Election Commission decided to deploy army to ensure security at elections. On day of vote 28 April BNP announced boycott, claiming polls rigged; PM Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League (AL) won; some reports of violence at polling stations. Police 8 April finally submitted charge sheet in April 2014 murder of local AL mayor and six others in Narayanganj district, accusing 35 people including Narayanganj ward councilor who fled to India after killings, and three former members of elite paramilitary Rapid Action Battalion. Senior Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) member Muhammad Kamaruzzaman hanged 11 April for committing atrocities in 1971 liberation war, after Supreme Court rejected review petition. JI called daylong strike 13 April; one JI student wing activist killed in clashes with police.

Bangladesh

  |  1 Apr 2015

Unchanged

Bangladesh National Party (BNP) leader Khaleda Zia failed to appear at her trial for corruption 3 March despite threat of arrest; her lawyer said she was willing to appear and surrender to police if security was guaranteed, she was allowed bail and could return to her party office. Next court hearing scheduled for 5 April. BNP 9 March suspended ongoing 48-hour hartal (strike) before restoring strikes 10-13 March. Zia allowed to address press conference from her office 13 March, first since early Jan; reiterated demands for fresh election under neutral caretaker set-up, end to enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings, and dialogue to resolve political crisis. PM Sheikh Hasina next day ruled out fresh dialogue. Although Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League (AL) and BNP remain intractable in public positions, senior party officials from both sides have expressed willingness to talk, contingent on BNP ending violent street agitation, and govt ending abuse of human rights and fundamental political freedoms. Despite lower death toll in street clashes between pro-govt supporters and BNP-led opposition, political tensions and sporadic violence continue. Police 2 March arrested alleged activist of banned Hizb ut-Tahrir as prime suspect in murder of well-known Bangladeshi-American activist writer Avijit Roy, hacked to death on street in Dhaka 26 Feb; murder compounded public fears of extremists taking advantage of political crisis. Blogger Washiqur Rahman hacked to death in another attack in Dhaka 30 March. BNP’s SG Salahuddin Ahmed disappeared after being apprehended 10 March by men identifying themselves as police; police inspector general denied any agency under his control had Ahmed in custody. Five killed in arson attacks 19 March. Chief Election Commissioner 18 March announced long-overdue Dhaka and Chittagong mayoral polls for 28 April; BNP yet to decide if it will take part.

Bangladesh

  |  2 Mar 2015

Unchanged Risk Alert

Political crisis continued, threatening severe destabilisation of country: over 100 killed and hundreds injured since early Jan in violent anti-govt protests and country-wide transport blockade led by opposition Bangladesh National Party (BNP); anti-corruption court 25 Feb issued warrant for BNP leader Zia’s arrest for non-appearance, raising fears of escalating violence in case warrant executed. PM Hasina 6 Feb compared actions of BNP and Islamist ally Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) to actions of Middle Eastern jihadi group Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL). Several civil society groups demonstrated for resolution to crisis, criticised negative economic impact including in country-wide protests early Feb; newly-formed committee of prominent jurists, retired officials and other civil society actors also pressed for AL-BNP dialogue; UNSG Ban mid-month urged Hasina and BNP leader Zia to engage in constructive dialogue. Zia remained confined to BNP offices in Dhaka; police 11 Feb temporarily blocked food and water supplies. Hasina 18 Feb promised govt action against newspaper for reprinting poster of banned Islamist group Hizb-ut Tahrir. Controversial International Crimes Tribunal, tasked with prosecuting war crimes committed during 1971 liberation war, 18 Feb sentenced senior JeI member Abdus Subhan to death.

Bangladesh

  |  2 Feb 2015

Deteriorated

Month saw escalating political crisis, violent clashes between opposition and govt supporters around first anniversary of disputed Jan 2014 elections boycotted by opposition Bangladesh National Party (BNP); at least 36 killed. Escalation raised fears about possible military intervention or exploitation of crisis by extremist and criminal networks; ruling Awami League (AL) denied country faces crisis, called BNP actions terrorism. Govt 3 Jan confined BNP leader Khaleda Zia to Dhaka BNP office in anticipation of BNP-led protests around 5 Jan election anniversary; move triggered deadly clashes between BNP and AL activists, at least four BNP workers killed, including two reportedly by security forces, leading Zia to call for indefinite countrywide strike, transport blockade. Zia released 19 Jan; said blockade would continue until govt agreed to dialogue, announced 48-hour strike in Dhaka, Sylhet and Khulna. Zia implicated for instigating two cases of arson during blockade; her son Tarique Rahman charged with treason 8 Jan.

Bangladesh

  |  5 Jan 2015

Unchanged

Opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) late Dec scheduled anti-govt rallies in Dhaka for early Jan, including on 5 Jan anniversary of 2014 elections boycotted by party; senior member of ruling Awami League (AL) Mohammad Nasim mid-Dec warned BNP will not be allowed to “create anarchy”. BNP leader Khaleda Zia 21 Dec called govt “illegal”, requested discussions with opposition to pave way for general elections. Dhaka court 10 Dec issued arrest warrant against Zia’s son, BNP vice chairman Tarique Rahman, for allegedly insulting country’s AL wartime president. Former Jatiya Party minister and senior Jamaat-e-Islami leader sentenced to death over alleged 1971 war crimes late Dec.

Bangladesh

  |  1 Dec 2014

Unchanged

Month saw several strikes and demonstrations by Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI), including in Dhaka, after controversial International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) late Oct sentenced JeI leader Motiur Rahman Nizami to death over alleged 1971 war crimes. Supreme Court 3 Nov upheld death sentence against JeI leader Muhammad Kamaruzzaman; govt 5 Nov requested preparations for execution, attorney general said apex court’s full verdict still required. ICT 2 Nov sentenced senior JeI member Mir Quasem Ali to death. JeI protests less violent than in past despite some incidents includingvandalism, crude bomb explosions and vehicle torching; observers warned of risk of escalation if sentences carried out. ICT 13 Nov sentenced member of opposition Bangladesh National Party (BNP) to death; 24 Nov sentenced to death expelled former local leader of ruling Awami League. BNP continued struggling to mobilise long-promised mass movement; leader Khaleda Zia criticised “inactivity” of other parties. Police 9 Nov shot BNP demonstrators in Gazipur, other districts, injuring around 30. Supreme Court 24 Nov rejected appeals in corruption case against Zia, clearing way for trial. Indian, Bangladeshi officials mid-Nov discussed counter-terrorism cooperation after India late Oct claimed to have uncovered Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) plot to assassinate PM Sheikh Hasina, carry out coup; police 23 Nov said four JMB members arrested in Dhaka, another five suspected militants arrested in Chittagong. Harkatul Jihad al-Islami members, arrested late Oct/early Nov, admitted to receiving training in Pakistan from Lashkar-e-Tayyaba for attacks inside Bangladesh.

Bangladesh

  |  1 Nov 2014

Unchanged

Main opposition Bangladesh National Party (BNP) vowed to launch mass demonstrations against govt starting second week of Oct after PM Hasina late Sept ruled out possibility of mid-term election, any dialogue with opposition; BNP struggled to mount significant opposition. Lawyers 16 Oct boycotted courts over late Sept signing of controversial sixteenth constitutional amendment restoring parliament’s authority to impeach Supreme Court judges. Dhaka court again deferred trial of BNP leader Khaleda Zia, hearing adjourned to 9 Nov after Zia refused to attend trial proceedings citing security concerns. Over 100 BNP, Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) activists charged mid-month over violence in run-up to Jan 2014 election; senior JeI member Motiur Rahman Nizami sentenced to death 29 Oct over alleged 1971 war crimes.

Bangladesh

  |  1 Oct 2014

Unchanged
Awami League (AL) won significant political victories, moved to consolidate power: Supreme Court 14 Sept rejected appeals by opposition Bangladesh National Party (BNP) leader Khaleda Zia in embezzlement case; possibility of life sentence. Parliament 17 Sept unanimously passed controversial constitutional amendment giving it power to impeach Supreme Court judges, signed by President Hamid late Sept. Three BNP leaders, 38 other BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) members indicted 1 Sept for violence during 2013 election-related demonstrations. Major protests in Dhaka against 17 Sept Supreme Court decision to commute death sentence of JeI leader to life imprisonment; demonstrators demanded death sentence, JeI called for a two-day strike to condemn Sayeedi’s conviction.

Bangladesh

  |  1 Sep 2014

Unchanged

Prospects of reconciliation between ruling Awami League (AL) and opposition Bangladesh National Party (BNP) remained slim: govt 4 Aug approved broadcast policy criticised by opposition and civil society for threatening freedom of expression; policy challenged in Supreme Court 18 Aug, BNP held protests in Dhaka. Govt claimed policy merely “guidelines”, not enforceable. Draft act on NGOs pending before parliament: regulates activities of NGOs receiving foreign funds, penalises NGOs allegedly involved in activities deemed “illegal or harmful for country”. Cabinet 18 Aug approved draft constitutional amendment restoring parliament’s authority to impeach Supreme Court judges; criticised by prominent lawyers, former judges for undermining judicial independence. Police continued raids against extremist group Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh, responsible for 2005 bombings, following late July arrest of 3 suspected activists in Dhaka; state minister for home affairs Asaduzzam Khan said JMB regrouping, seeking links with international terrorist groups including al-Qaeda.

Bangladesh

  |  1 Aug 2014

Unchanged

Tensions between ruling Awami League (AL) and opposition Bangladesh National Party (BNP) remained high: Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu 11 July accused BNP leader Khaleda Zia of conspiring to seize power with “killers” who participated in 1971 war crimes, 1975 military coup and more recent terrorist plots. Zia renewed calls for mass protests against govt to begin after Eid holiday late July, repeated demands for early elections under non-partisan caretaker govt. Special court trying Zia, her son Tarique Rahman, and others in two graft cases delayed recording deposition of prosecution witness to 3 Sept. Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague 7 July ruled on maritime boundary dispute with India, awarded Bangladesh nearly 80% of Bay of Bengal.

Bangladesh

  |  1 Jul 2014

Unchanged

Tensions increased between ruling Awami League (AL) and opposition Bangladesh National Party (BNP) after opposition calls for dissolution of anti-terrorism Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), criticised for extra-judicial killings and other human rights violations, dismissed by PM Sheikh Hasina Wajid late May. RAB early month discovered weapons caches in NE, allegedly belonging to Assam separatist from India; BNP claimed move part of govt-orchestrated efforts to improve RAB’s image. PM Sheikh Hasina 2 June claimed late BNP founder Ziaur Rehman involved in 1975 killing of her father. At least 9 Urdu-speaking Biharis killed 14 June during clashes with police and ethnic Bengalis in Dhaka refugee camp.

Bangladesh

  |  1 Jun 2014

Unchanged

Leader of opposition Bangladesh National Party (BNP) Khaleda Zia 4 May threatened violent demonstrations if govt refused to step down, same day accused ruling Awami League (AL) party and its political allies of 1 May murdering 7 abductees seized 3 days earlier in Narayanganj district; anti-terrorism Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) accused by relatives of victims of carrying out killings on behalf of local AL leader Nur Hossain. Govt 5 May forced 3 RAB officers to retire; public prosecutors 22 May charged 2 senior officers with murder. Information Minister Hasanul Huq Inu said RAB killed 373 during Zia’s tenure as PM. High Court judge 11 May asked govt to consider amending police laws to guarantee constitutionally protected rights. International Crimes Tribunal, tasked with prosecuting war crimes committed during 1971 independence war, 11 May formally charged and issued arrest warrant for former Jatiya Party legislator Abdul Jabbar; Jabbar found guilty 29 May of crimes including killing 36, forcibly converting 200 Hindus to Islam.

Bangladesh

  |  1 May 2014

Unchanged

Political situation remained tense as opposition and domestic observers denounced rigging and violence in ongoing upazila (sub-districts) elections between candidates backed by rival parties and between Awami League (AL) party cadres. Following 5th round of polls 31 March, AL-affiliated candidates had won 221 upazila chairmen posts, securing lead over BNP and JI-allied candidates; 6th round of polls scheduled 19 May. Election Commission said polls thus far free and fair, threatened legal action against those committing election-related violence. Impending anti-corruption trail of Bangladesh National Party (BNP) leader Khaleda Zia, which could see her jailed for life, and prosecutions against Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) members by International Crimes Tribunal (ICT), increased potential for more political unrest. Zia 13 April filed petition with High Court challenging indictment against her and her son and seeking stay order on trial, due to start 21 April. BNP’s joint secretary general 15 April said party preparing national movement to dislodge AL govt should trial proceed. High Court 23 April rejected Zia’s petitions, clearing way for cases to proceed, raising concerns of more BNP-led violent demonstrations and strikes; BNP now appealing to Supreme Court. BNP 22 April began “long march” from Dhaka in bid to gain popular support by criticising govt for failure to reach equitable water-sharing deal with India. ICT 25 March listed 7 charges of “crimes against humanity”, including genocide, against JI members, allegedly committed in 1971 independence war; also recommended party should be permanently banned. ICT 17 April decided to follow through with decision to indict UK journalist David Bergman with contempt of court for criticising its procedural flaws and biases in blog posts.

Bangladesh

  |  1 Apr 2014

Unchanged

Special anti-corruption court 19 March indicted Bangladesh National Party (BNP) leader Khaleda Zia on charges dating from her last term as PM 2001-2006, could see her jailed for life; Zia’s son and political heir Tarique Rehman, currently in self-exile in London, also indicted. Zia rejected charges as politically motivated, vowed to restart protests to oust Awami League (AL) govt, prompting fears of renewed political tensions, violence. Zia’s trial due to start 21 April. Continued violence surrounding ongoing non-party upazila (local body) elections amid opposition allegations of rigging by AL and its supporters; at least 7 killed, hundreds injured in violence during 3rd and 4th round voting and during campaigning. In 15 March speech to Supreme Court Bar Association Zia urged opposition groups to launch movement against AL’s “killer and repressive government”. Following BNP-allied candidates’ lead in 1st and 2nd rounds, AL-affiliated candidates took lead following 3rd and 4th rounds. In continuing war crimes cases against Jamaat-e-Islami leaders, prosecution in case against Jamaat leader Motiur Rahman Nizami 12 March reiterated demand for death penalty. Govt minister 14 March announced that Jamaat would be banned by June 2014 for its role in 1971 war crimes. ICT set April date for decision on contempt of court proceedings against UK journalist David Bergman for criticising tribunal’s procedural flaws and biases towards prosecution in blog posts.

Bangladesh

  |  1 Mar 2014

Unchanged

PM Sheikh Hasina consolidated new govt following Jan re-election of her Awami League (AL) party; opposition street protests subsided, reflecting apparent loss of appetite domestically, international pressure on opposition BNP. Following its boycott of Jan elections, BNP decided to contest upazila (local body) polls, technically a non-party election; achieved significant lead over other parties in 1st and 2nd phase of polls 20, 27 Feb. Some violence during polls; 1 AL activist killed following clash between AI and BNP supporters in Chaugachla, 1 killed after police fired on Jamaat-e-Islami supporters in Sonaimuri. 2 main parties yet to enter into talks to improve relations despite international pressure; BNP top party committee passed resolution 6 Feb calling govt and 10th parliament illegal and unconstitutional. 30 Jan sentencing of 14 men, mostly with links to opposition parties, to death for involvement in 2004 arms smuggling case, further aggravated BNP-AL tensions. Audio tape purportedly from al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri mid-Feb called on Bangladesh’s Muslims to wage “intifada” and “massive public uprising in defence of Islam against enemies of Islam”; citing police action against May 2013 Islamist rally charged that “massacre of Muslims is being carried out”. AL MP 16 Feb accused BNP and ally Jamaat-e-Islami of maintaining ties to al-Qaeda; BNP strongly refuted, accusing govt of “suicidal ploy to divide the nation and the people for its own political interests”. Jamaat and Islamist umbrella group Hefajet-e-Islam also denied links to al-Qaeda. Cabinet 17 Feb approved 5-year extension of speedy trial bill, which has seen due process subverted in high-profile cases against Jamaat and its allies, aggravating tensions between the 2 main parties.

Bangladesh

  |  1 Feb 2014

Deteriorated

Awami League (AL) govt held elections 5 Jan despite boycott by BNP, 18 small parties, sparking further political uncertainty. More than 20 killed in election day violence. Govt claimed voter turnout 48%, some media assessed only 22%, suggesting instances of fraud. 154 of 300 seats contested only by AL candidates. AL won 233 seats; parliamentary opposition to be led by Jatiya Party with 33 seats. BNP absent from parliament for first time since 1991. PM Sheikh Hasina 6 Jan announced crackdown on opposition unrest, but lifted restrictively heavy security around BNP leader Khaleda Zia’s house. Sporadic protests and deadly clashes between opposition supporters and police continued, including 3 killed in clashes with police in SE 26 Jan. Human Rights Watch criticised authorities’ use of excessive force, crackdown on opposition, extrajudicial killings by security forces of opposition supporters. Some reports suggesting Hindu minority being increasingly targeted by govt opponents. Court 30 Jan sentenced Jamaat-e-Islami president Motiur Rahman Nizami and 13 others to death for arms smuggling in 2004; Jamaat supporters staged protest following verdict.

Bangladesh

  |  2 Jan 2014

Risk Alert

Tensions and violence intensifying amid continued political deadlock ahead of general election scheduled for 5 Jan, with opposition promising blockades until election day, violence bringing country to standstill. Bangladesh National Party (BNP)-led opposition 2 Dec announced it will boycott elections, continues calling for ruling Awami League (AL) to stand down and form neutral caretaker govt to supervise polls: blocked rail, road and waterways. BNP 18 Dec labelled 5 Jan polls “one-party elections”. Opposition boycott would mean 154 out of 300 seats could go uncontested. BNP head Khaleda Zia’s house surrounded by police 29 Dec; party vice chairman among BNP leaders arrested. AL-led alliance continued election process, 15 out of 40 registered parties 2 Dec filed nomination papers. AL-alliance suffered setback when coalition member Jatiya Party (JP) joined election boycott. Deadlock exacerbated by 12 Dec execution of Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) leader Abdul Quader Mollah, convicted by International Crimes Tribunal for atrocities committed during 1971 liberation war. JeI supporters 12-15 Dec protested execution, enforced nationwide blockade, attacked houses of 4 AL ministers, clashed with police and AL supporters; at least 25 killed. More than 100 dead in political violence since BNP announced boycott.

Bangladesh

  |  1 Dec 2013

Deteriorated

Political crisis deepened. Awami League (AL) leader/PM Hasina formed “all-party” interim cabinet to supervise Jan 2014 elections, based on 19 Oct AL proposal to form joint election cabinet with opposition. Ministers submitted resignations 11 Nov, President Abdul Hamid 19 Nov swore in new 8-minister interim govt comprised entirely of pro-AL politicians after 19-party opposition led by Bangladesh National Party (BNP) refused to join, calling it “another version” of previous AL govt and continuing call for transfer of power to neutral caretaker govt ahead of elections. Opposition 4-7 Nov enforced 84-hour strike to protest new cabinet; clashes with AL-supporters and security forces left 2 dead, over 100 injured. Violence reignited 9 Nov after police arrested 5 senior BNP leaders for “instigating” attacks. Election Commission 26 Nov announced elections to be held 5 Jan, urged all parties to participate; 28 Nov said elections could be postponed if govt and opposition agree. Opposition rejected date, called for suspension of elections, 26-29 Nov held new strikes and demonstrations; 22 reported killed in unrest and clashes; 30 Nov started another 72-hour nationwide strike demanding postponement of elections. BNP leader Khaleda Zia 20 Nov requested President Hamid resolve political deadlock “within his constitutional limits”, said opposition would not participate in “one-sided election”. International Crimes Tribunal 7 Nov sentenced British Muslim leader Chowdhury Mueen Uddin to death in absentia for alleged 1971 war crimes; Uddin said trial “politically motivated”. Special court 4 Nov sentenced 152 ex-border guards to death for 2009 2-day mutiny over low wages; UN human rights chief Navi Pillay criticised trial for failure to meet international standards, said defendants were tortured.

Bangladesh

  |  1 Nov 2013

Deteriorated

Violence erupted late-month as opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) activists clashed with police and supporters of ruling Awami League (AL), after PM Sheikh Hasina 14 Oct said session of present parliament would continue after 24 Oct, rejecting deadline set by BNP for transfer of power to caretaker govt ahead of Jan 2014 elections. Reportedly over 100,000 BNP supporters rallied in Dhaka 25 Oct; at least 6 people reported killed by security forces. BNP leader Khaleda Zia 25 Oct called for 60-hour nationwide strike starting 27 Oct; in rare direct contact, PM Hasina telephoned Zia 26 Oct in partially televised call in attempt to cancel strike, but no deal reached. Strike saw violent street fights across country, at least 20 people killed, hundreds wounded. Local BNP leader 28 Oct bombed and knifed to death in Jhenaidah by pro-AL demonstrators, 1 AL supporter reportedly hacked to death 27 Oct in Jessore. Police 27 Oct opened fire on BNP demonstrators in Nagarkanda; 29 Oct killed at least 2 Jamaat-e-Islami demonstrators on Kutubdia island. Situation further inflamed as controversial International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) 9 Oct sentenced BNP politician Abdul Alim to life imprisonment for killing at least 600 people during 1971 war of liberation; followed 1 Oct sentencing to death of another BNP MP Salauddin Quader Chowdhury.

Bangladesh

  |  1 Oct 2013

Unchanged

Supreme Court (SC) 17 Sept rejected Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) leader Abdul Kader Mullah’s appeal against International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) jail term for 1971 war crimes, increased sentence to death penalty. JeI 18 Sept said trial politically motivated, called for 48h nationwide strike, demonstrations: 2 civilians died in 19 Sept protest in Mujibnagar town, 4 police injured in Chittagong. ICT 1 Oct sentenced to death senior opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) MP Salauddin Quader Chowdhury for 1971 crimes. SC 24 Sept started hearing on appeal filed by JeI leader Delwar Hossain Sayedee against 28 Feb ICT death penalty verdict. Viability of Oct elections remained in question: Awami League (AL) leader/PM Sheikh Hasina 17 Sept stated polls to be held on schedule under current govt; BNP 9 Sept threatened election boycott, 12 Sept threatened to resign from parliament if elections not held under caretaker govt.

Bangladesh

  |  1 Sep 2013

Unchanged

Sporadic clashes, shutdowns, protests over war crimes trials and govt crackdown on Islamic groups continued. Supreme Court 5 Aug refused to stay High Court verdict upholding Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) party ban, triggering protests; some 40 pro-JeI demonstrators injured in clashes with police 13 Aug. International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) 18 Aug began investigations into JeI party role in 1971 war of liberation; previous investigations focused on individual members. ICT prosecutors 20 Aug charged Human Rights Watch with contempt of court for criticising trial of ex-JeI leader Ghulam Azam. Awami League (AL) and opposition Bangladesh National Party (BNP) failed to reach agreement on elections; BNP 16 Aug said violence “inevitable” if vote held under incumbent govt, calling for caretaker govt. Rights activist Adilur Rahman Khan arrested 10 Aug for claiming 61 Islamists killed by govt in 2 May protest.

Bangladesh

  |  1 Aug 2013

Deteriorated

Series of International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) rulings during month against former Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) leaders prompted violent protests. ICT-1 15 July sentenced former JeI leader Ghulam Azam to 90 years for crimes against humanity during 1971 liberation war; ICT-2 17 July sentenced JeI SG and former Al Badr militia chief Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujaheed to death for mass murder and torture; ICT prosecutors 18 July charged JeI Assistant SG Azharul Islam with genocide and war crimes. Elections Commission chief 18 July said Commission closely examining verdicts to determine whether to ban JeI party. 4 JeI activists killed, several injured in clashes with police during protests against rulings in Dhaka 14-16 July. Suspected JeI activists 15 July killed Awami League local leader in Debhata, Satkhira; 2 JeI killed by mob while attempting to form road block in Mirupur, Kushtia. JeI student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir 3 July held nationwide protests against prolonged detention of its President Delwar Hussen, scores injured in clashes with police.

Bangladesh

  |  1 Jul 2013

Unchanged

Opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) 2 June filed motion to reinstate caretaker election govt for upcoming Dec-Jan elections. PM Hasina 4 June said elections to be held under current govt. Home minister 4 June said May ban on demonstrations applies only to violent rallies. Minister for Liberation War Affairs 24 June said govt to compile list of Pakistani collaborators during 1971 liberation war, to be excluded from voters list for elections. Unidentified assailants 17 June killed local Awami League leader in Pirojpur, SW. 10 Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen militants sentenced to death 22 June over 2005 suicide bombings in Gazipur.


Bangladesh

  |  1 Jun 2013

Unchanged

Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) 6-7 May organised protests demanding blasphemy law; over 20 killed, scores injured in clashes with police. Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and JeI 8-9 May held nationwide strike protesting “mass killings by police”. Home ministry 19 May imposed 1-month ban on political parties’ “public meetings and processions” citing cyclone Mahasen; BNP and allies 26 May protested ban, called for caretaker govt. Country’s International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) 9 May sentenced to death JeI assistant Sec Gen Muhammad Kamaruzzaman for mass killings during 1971 independence war. Police 12 May arrested JeI leader AKM Yusuf on charges of genocide during 1971 war. ICT indicted UK citizen Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin and U.S. citizen Ashrafuzzaman Khan for crimes during 1971 war, demanding extradition. Information Minister 29 May said war crimes verdict executions to be carried out by Aug 2013.

Bangladesh

  |  1 May 2013

Deteriorated

Violent protests against country’s International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) continued, combined with increased tensions between ruling Awami League (AL) and Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), bringing country to standstill. Several killed in clashes in Dhaka and Chittagong between Jamaat-e-Islami and AL supporters during 11 April demonstration. 3 Hindu temples set on fire in suspected Jamaat attacks in Madaripur and Boalkhali. BNP 23 April organised nationwide strike protesting against arrests of its members, dozens hurt in clashes with police, 2 injured in bomb attacks in Dhaka. Leader of AL youth organisation Chhatra League hacked to death in Rajshahi 14 April. ICT-1 23 April indicted former AL leader Mobarak Hossain for murder, abduction and torture during 1971 independence war.

Bangladesh

  |  1 Apr 2013

Unchanged

Month saw violent protests by Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and Jamaat-e-Islami against country’s International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) and ruling Awami League (AL) party, sparking clashes with security forces and AL supporters, dozens killed and hundreds injured. Police 11 March arrested 154 prominent BNP members after nationwide strike. Police 31 March arrested Delwar Hussen, president of Jamaat-e-Islami student front Islami Chhatra Shibir, prompting further violence. President Zillur Rahman died of illness in Singapore 20 March. In context of ICT protests, attacks against Hindu minority and vandalism of temples increased.

Bangladesh

  |  1 Mar 2013

Deteriorated

Violence erupted as Islamist protests over 1971 war crimes tribunal faced off against popular movement in support of death sentences for those accused, including senior leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami party. After country’s International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) sentenced Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Mollah to life in prison 5 Feb, hundreds of thousands began peaceful protests in Dhaka’s Shahbag Square same day calling for death sentence for Mollah and others on trial. Shahbag protests continued throughout month, supported by governing Awami League and opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). Ongoing protests by Jamaat-e-Islami and its youth wing against war crimes trials intensified: general countrywide strikes 18, 24, 28 Feb, with around a dozen killed in clashes with security forces, dozens injured and arrested. ICT 28 Feb sentenced Jamaat-e-Islami leader Delwar Hossain Sayedee to death, sparking further violence, over 20 reported killed, dozens injured. One of bloggers organising Shahbag protests Ahmed Rajib Haider hacked to death in suspected Jamaat-e-Islami attack in Dhaka 15 Feb. PM Sheikh Hasina 16 Feb voiced support for banning Jamaat-e-Islami and Islami Chhatra Shibir. Parliament 18 Feb passed law to swiftly execute war criminals, allow prosecution appeal against life sentences and allow trials of parties or organisations on war crimes charges. ICT 25 Feb charged Mobarak Hossain, member of governing Awami League, with war crimes during 1971 war.

Bangladesh

  |  1 Feb 2013

Unchanged

Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami organised further strikes 28, 31 Jan to protest trials against party leaders accused of committing crimes during 1971 independence war; clashes between protesters and police in Dhaka and other cities. Tribunal 21 Jan sentenced to death in absentia Muslim cleric and former Jamaat-e-Islami senior member Abul Kalam Azad for committing crimes against humanity during independence war. Jamaat-e-Islami 15 Jan organised half-day strike in 8 Rajshahi districts to protest arrest of party’s assistant SG over threats to PM; at least 15 injured, including 4 police, in clashes, explosions. Police 6 Jan violently dispersed demonstrators protesting fuel price rise, dozens reported injured.

Bangladesh

  |  30 Dec 2012

Unchanged

Jamaat e-Islami and Islami Chhatra supporters continued nationwide protests against trial of party leaders accused of committing war crimes during 1971 independence war. Amid fears govt might rig 2014 parliamentary elections, 18 opposition parties led by Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) held nationwide protests early Dec to demand reinstatement of caretaker govt dismissed in 2011; 4 reported killed, hundreds injured in clashes between police and protesters 9 Dec; further protests in Dakha 26 Dec. Ruling parties led by Awami League 22 Dec held nationwide demonstrations to protest Jamaat-e-Islami and BNP protests and violence. Clashes broke out 22 Dec between supporters of 2 defeated candidates of local election in Rangpur, 1 killed.

Bangladesh

  |  1 Dec 2012

Unchanged

Police arrested some 2,500 Jamaat-e-Islami, Islami Chhatra party supporters following nationwide protests throughout Nov against trial of party leaders accused of committing war crimes during 1971 independence war.

Bangladesh

  |  1 Nov 2012

Unchanged

Police early Oct arrested 300 suspects in Sept anti-Buddhist violence in Cox’s Bazaar district, including Buddhist local who put image of burnt Quran on Facebook, sparking violence. Govt mid-month sought talks with U.S. diplomats over arrest of Bangladeshi terror suspect Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis who attempted to blow up Federal Reserve Bank in New York. Govt 25 Oct sent additional security forces to Myanmar border amid reports of influx of Rohingya Muslim refugees fleeing Rakhine State violence.

Bangladesh

  |  1 Oct 2012

Unchanged

Thousands of demonstrators clashed with police over anti-Islam film in Dhaka 21-22 Sept, at least 50 civilians, 30 police injured; Islamic organisations 23 Sept enforced nationwide strike. Former Awami League MP shot dead 25 Sept. Muslim protesters 29-30 Sept attacked Buddhist homes, temples in Cox’s Bazar district after image of burnt Quran allegedly posted by local Buddhist on Facebook; authorities imposed curfew, deployed troops. Interior Minister described violence as “premeditated and deliberate acts of communal violence”.


Bangladesh

  |  1 Sep 2012

Unchanged

Police 22 Aug arrested Jamaat-e-Islami SG Azharul Islam for alleged crimes against humanity during 1971 independence war. Court 28 Aug jailed 665 soldiers for 2009 mutiny. 50 Hindus accused of vandalising local mosque 4 Aug injured in clashes with Muslims in Dinajpur, 17 arrested.

Bangladesh

  |  1 Aug 2012

Unchanged

Court 15 July jailed 253 patients and hospital workers over involvement in Feb 2009 mutiny. 20 injured 8 July in clashes between student organisations Bangladesh Chhatra League and Islami Chhatra Shibir in Sylhet. Student killed 15 July in factional clash between Bangladesh Chhatra League supporters in Rangpur over leadership of its Rajshahi University unit. Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami and Islami Chhatra Shibir 19 July clashed with police in Motijheel, dozens injured, 8 arrested; activists demanded immediate release of leaders arrested on various charges including war crimes.

Bangladesh

  |  1 Jul 2012

Unchanged
Hundreds injured in mid-month large-scale garment worker strikes in Ashulia; hundreds arrested, 10 local BNP leaders charged with provocation. Second International Crimes Tribunal early June indicted several suspects including Jamaat-e-Islami leader Muhammad Kamaruzzaman, SG Ali Ahsan Mohammad, BNP leader Abdul Alim for war crimes. Opposition leaders accused of 29 April torching of bus in front of PM’s office released on bail 14 June. Pirgachha district Awami League leader Mofizul Islam killed 21 June, 20 others injured at party meeting in clash between party factions.

Bangladesh

  |  1 Jun 2012

Unchanged

Month saw widespread protests against April arrest of 45 opposition leaders, disappearance of BNP regional leader Ilyas Ali; 200 injured 13 May across Bangladesh; several bombs exploded, over 100 arrested 17 May during Dhaka protest. Opposition set 10 June ultimatum for restoration of caretaker govt to oversee 2013 national elections, threatening boycott. U.S. Secretary of State Clinton 5 May called for political dialogue during visit to Dhaka. 3 top Jamaat-e-Islami members, including leader Ghulam Azam, indicted 12, 28 May for genocide, murder during 1971 Bangladesh liberation war; first trial expected to start 20 June; party said charges politically motivated. 9 journalists wounded 29 May in attack on Dhaka news outlet.

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