BLUEPRINT FOR CROSSFIRE DEATHS
By Abu Sufian
--- A court order: highest punishment for the arrestee. An order by top RAB officials to kill criminals in cold-blood in so-called crossfire. On-deputation military officers, lieutenant colonel or equivalent, pressed into the elite force are blamed for killing suspects in 'crossfire' without giving them the right to defense in the legal system. In one typical example, the RAB prepared a six-page profile on a suspect, which included a paragraph on 'probable reaction' to the killing. "There is no possibility of adverse reaction and tension in businesses and political circles if highest punishment is executed. But a few top leaders in opposition can cash in on the issue," it says. This correspondent has collected a copy of the report on high-profile criminal, prepared by RAB officials. The report details how RAB personnel execute recommendation to kill criminals in the name of `crossfire.' Some 302 people were killed in RAB 'crossfire' from June 2004 (when RAB was set up) to the end of September 2006. Crossfire deaths bring to mind the killing of 58 people in 87 days of Operation Clean Hearth by the army in 2002. A law was signed to indemnify the killings. Most arrestees—legs and hands bound – were shot in the head in the middle of the night if the RAB director general approved the crossfire. Crossfire victims were found with chest and belly injuries although they were led into crossfire in bulletproof vests. After arrest, the profile of each suspect was sent to the director general for approval, RAB sources said. At the bottom of the profile reads an instruction: highest punishment is recommended. Asked what highest punishment meant, a RAB official said 'crossfire'. The arrestees were killed in crossfire a few hours after the approval from the RAB supremo, who could not be reached for comment. RAB's additional director general Colonel Mahbubul Alam Molla admitted preparing such profiles. He said the commanding officer of the battalion prepared the profiles of the suspects. "In the paragraph of recommendation, the commanding officer described how the criminal would be treated," the ADG said, speaking to this correspondent. Molla said, the commanding officers recommended highest punishment in the profiles. This correspondent showed the profile, to Barrister Rokonuddin Mahmud who said it proved RAB killed people without trial. "This is an outright violation of law. RAB or the police do not have such jurisdiction of recommendation," he said. Whatever big the crime may be, the criminal has the right to seek justice, the barrister said. "After proper investigation, the criminal must be taken to trial in the legal system. Only the court has the authority to try.' At the morgue of the Dhaka Medical College Hospital, some crossfire victims were found in bulletproof vests and handcuffs. Describing events leading to crossfire, a RAB official said, "I saw some arrestees singing and asking for cigarettes before crossfire." One of the victims was Shahabuddin killed in RAB crossfire in late 2004. Shahabuddin had a history of extortion in Karwan Bazar. A senior RAB official rang this correspondent up before the crossfire to say: "Can you make a profile of Shahabuddin" You will get the details later." At about 1:30 am the same night, the RAB official called again and said: "Shahabuddin died in an encounter when he tried to escape." Several times RAB officials made phone calls to this correspondent after arrest and crossfire. A RAB official, asking not to be named, said: "There is not other alternative to curb crime." Seven RAB officials were honoured with president's police medals in 2006 for 'professional distinction." Lt Commander Mustafa Kamal, deputy director of RAB-2, led seven incidents of crossfire in one year that killed Wahidul and Apon Sheikh of Jessore. Captain Tarique Rahman Khan of RAB-7 led the crossfire of Chittagong's top terror Gias Hazarika, Lieutenant A T M Shahin Parvez of RAB-7 ordered highest punishment to Gittu Nasir at Hathazari. RAB-4's Captain S M Sajjad Hossain led the crossfire of Tapu, Razib, Naziur Rahman, Fallainya, Seka and Grenade Nazrul. Captain Iftekhar Ahmed of RAB-6 led the way in crossfire when Hachan Fakir died in Barisal. Former commanding officer of RAB-7 Lt. Col (now Col.) Kazi Emdadul Haque led seven incidents of crossfire in which Ahamaidda Bahini operatives including its chief Ahamaidda died Chittagong. Captain Mohammad Asadullah of RAB-3 spearheaded the crossfire leading to the death of underworld operative Mufakkhar. The Police Week-2006 Magazine highlighted the distinction of the seven RAB officers.
[This report was published in the bdnews24.com 0n 22 Oct, 2006 was and carried out by the different national newspapers in Bangladesh. After publishing this news the RAB has changed their ‘crime profile’/
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