Oct 18, 2109
New Delhi, India
The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) condemns the killing of Abrar Fahad, a second year student of the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) who was allegedly beaten to death by leaders of Bangladesh Chhatra League, the student wing of the ruling party Awami League, inside the university.
Echoing Bangladesh’s obligations under Articles 9 and 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, CHRI calls for an impartial and urgent completion of the investigation and subsequent action against the guilty in accordance with procedure established by law.
Abrar was killed following a Facebook post criticising a bilateral agreement between Bangladesh and India on 5 October. The post went viral on social media. In the aftermath of Abrar’s killing, the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) ordered blocking of an online sub-domain page anonymously made by current and former students of BUET that listed over 150 complaints of violence and abuse in BUET.
The death of Abrar stirred a public outcry in Bangladesh and condemnation from the international community and indicated that freedom of expression there is facing severe challenges after the passage of laws relating to criminalisation of expression and to restrict expression. According to news reports, over 450 violations of freedom of speech have been reported in the country last year; of them, 51 percent involved journalists. Two journalists were murdered, 19 suffered severe physical assault, 156 were victims of different physical attacks and 22 were kidnapped in 2018.
Eighteen people were arrested after, Abrar’s father filed a case. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed has issued directions calling for swift investigation, saying that she did not look at party affiliations in matters of criminal conduct.
For more information, please contact:
Sanjoy Hazarika, International Director, CHRI