Urgent Appeal to save the life of abducted witness Shukho Ranjan Bali

6 Nov
Abducted Witness Shukho Ranjan Bali is a victim and eye witness to the atrocities of Pakistan Army in 1971

Abducted Witness Shukho Ranjan Bali is victim and eye witness to the atrocities committed to his fellow Minority Hindu Community in 1971. He saw his Brother Bisha Bali’s murder and arson which destroyed their village. He was abducted from the Tribunal Premises by Plain Clothed security personnel 

Defence Witness abducted from the Tribunal Premises by plain clothes personnel

At around 10AM on 5th November 2012, a defence witness, namely Mr Shukho Ranjan Bali was abducted from the Tribunal premises. He was coming to the International Crimes Tribunal, Dhaka (“the Tribunal”) to testify for the accused Mr Allama Delwar Hossain Sayedee.

The defence witness was approaching the Tribunal in the car of the senior defence counsel Mr Mizanul Islam whe police officers stopped their car for security check at the Tribunal gate. Senior Defence Counsel Mr Manjur Ahmed Ansari and Defence Counsel Mr Hasanul Banna Shohag were also in the car along with Mr Islam and Defence Witness, Mr Bali. The Police informed the lawyers that they have instructions not to allow entry of anyone inside the Tribunal except lawyers with ‘passes’ issued by the Tribunal. At this point, Defence counsel Mr Mizanul Islam tried explaining that Mr Bali is a defence witness. He also stated that they would have to actually enter the Tribunal premises in order to obtain passes from the Tribunal entrance. However, the police officers unlawfully compelled everyone to get out of the car, except for Mr Mizanul Islam, who can only move in a wheel-chair. As soon as they came out of the car, a group of armed plain clothed men approached them and grabbed the Defence Witness, Mr Bali and tried to whisk him away. When Defence Counsel, Mr. Hasanul Banna Shohag tried to prevent them, the plain clothed personnel warned him not to intervene as they were from the ‘Detective Branch’ of the Police and had instructions to take Mr. Shuko Ranjan Bali to their ‘head office’ for interrogation. Although, Mr Shohag repeatedly tried to bring to the notice of the law enforcement agencies that a Defence Witness was being unlawfully taken away, the uniformed police officers remained silent and quietly observed the incident. At this point, the plain clothed security personnel hit Mr Bali across his face and forced him into a white pick-up (see Photo) which had ‘Police’ written on its sides in fluorescent stickers. As soon as Mr Bali was forced inside the vehicle, it drove away. The entire incident took place in front of police officers on duty in the Tribunal premises, who did not make any attempt to intervene.

Police Vab approacing to abduct Witness Shukho Ranjan Bali

The police car coming out of the Tribunal’s parking area which will be used to abduct Witness Shukho Ranjan Bali. The photo has been taken by the Driver of Defence Counsel’s car. Photo taken seconds before Mr Bali was forced to get into this Police Van.

Witness Shukho Ranjan Bali frocefuly taken inside the Police Car at the Tibunal Premises

Witness Shukho Ranjan Bali taken inside forcefully (inside the Red Circle – wearing while shirt). Photo taken by Mr Uzzal, Driver of Senior Defence Counsel Mr Mizanul Islam. Photo was taken using a cheap mobile phone..hence the low resolution

Police Car Speeding away with Witness bali

The Police Car speeding way with Witness Shukho Ranjan Bali inside.

At about 1035AM, the Chief Defence Counsel Mr Abdur Razzaq brought this incident to the notice of the tribunal, and prayed that the Tribunal should issue direction upon the law enforcing agencies to ‘produce’ the defence witness before the Tribunal. However, the Tribunal merely ‘requested’ the Chief Prosecutor and Chief of the Investigation Agency to ‘look into the matter’.

At 1.05 PM, the Chief Prosecutor reported before the Tribunal that he and Chief Investigator had enquired with the law enforcement agencies and that they had obtained information that no incident of abduction took place. All the Police officers denied witnessing any such incident. At this point, the Chief Defence Counsel Mr Razzaq submitted that since the law enforcing agencies were denying the fact of arrest of Mr Bali, they were now concerned about his safety and further that unless any order is passed directing the law enforcement agencies to produce Mr Bali before the Tribunal, he may become the victim of ‘forced disappearance’. Recently many people have gone missing without any trace upon being picked up by law enforcing agencies.

However, the Tribunal refused to pass any order directing the law enforcement agencies to produce Mr Bali. As a measure of protest, the Defence counsels decided to boycott the tribunal proceedings in the second session of the day. Although, the Defence counsels have made repeated attempts to locate Mr Bali, till now, they have received no information as to his whereabouts. The Defence counsels now not only fear for the security of Mr Bail but also apprehend that as a result of the abduction of the Defence witness from the Tribunal premises, no person will come to the Tribunal to testify in favour of any of the accused persons in the cases pending before the Tribunal.

Mr Bali was originally listed as a Prosecution witness. According to Charge 10 against Mr Saydee, the accused (i.e., Mr Saydee) destroyed Mr Bali’s house and killed his brother Bisha Bali in 1971. Since Mr Bali was not ready to make any false statements before the Tribunal, the Prosecution eventually did not produce him before the tribunal. Rather the prosecution claimed that he was unavailable and hiding in India, on the basis of which, the Tribunal received in evidence an unsigned statement of Mr Bali purportedly to have been recorded by the Investigation Officer under section 19(2) of the 1973 Act.

On 21 October 2012, the Defence filed an application before the Tribunal to issue summons upon Mr Bali so that he can testify as Defence Witness. On 22 October 2012, the Tribunal ordered that it would not issue any summons, but that the Defence was at liberty to produce him as Defence Witness. On 31 October 2012, the Defence filed an application to allow Mr Bali to give evidence before commencement of summing up. The Tribunal fixed the application for hearing on 5th November 2012. Accordingly, the Defence counsel sought to produce Mr Bali as Defence witness before the Tribunal.

Abul Kalam Azad a close friend of abducted Witness Mr Bali has filed an application before the Supreme Court of Bangladesh in the form Writ Petition of Heabious Corpus seeking direction upon Bangladesh Government to produce Mr Bali in court within next 24 hours. The application will be heard on 7th November 2012.

The International community should come forward and urgently take steps to draw the attention of the Bangladesh Government to the abduction of Mr. Shukho Ranjan Bali from the Tribunal premises so that appropriate measures may be taken at the highest level to save the life of an innocent person

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2 Responses to “Urgent Appeal to save the life of abducted witness Shukho Ranjan Bali”

  1. siddiqur rahmna November 7, 2012 at 12:29 pm #

    Awamileague Govt creating Hinius bad precedence in the histry of Bangladesh making our judiciary under big question

  2. Sohel Chowdhury November 7, 2012 at 5:42 pm #

    jalim government……………..

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