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Resolution adopted unanimously by the IPU Governing Council at its 184th session
(Addis Ababa, 10 April 2009)

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the case of Sheikh Hasina, a member of the Parliament of Bangladesh at the time the communication was submitted, as outlined in the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/184/12(b)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 183rd session (October 2008),

Noting that on 2 February 2009 a meeting was held between the IPU Secretary General and the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Attorney General of Bangladesh at which they stated their commitment to ensuring that justice was done in this case and provided further information on the case proceedings; taking into account the progress report provided by the Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations Office in Geneva on 10 December 2008, in addition to the information which has been regularly provided by the sources,

Recalling that the initial line of investigation into the grenade attack of August 2004 against Sheikh Hasina and other Awami League leaders, proved to be based on the “confession”, reportedly obtained under duress, of a petty criminal, Joj Miah, who admitted to carrying out the attack with a criminal gang and that Joj Miah's family had been provided with a long-term government subsidy; considering in this respect that, according to the sources, cases have now been filed against three investigation officers for attempting to divert the course of justice and committing torture; that they have been instructed to appear before the court, but have not yet done so and are absconding,

Recalling further that, on taking office in January 2007, the Caretaker Government ordered a new investigation, which revealed that Horkatul Jihad al Islami (Huji) militants, including its leader Mufti Abdul Hannan, had carried out the attack, and enabled the police to arrest more suspects and to recover grenades, rifles and explosives; that, according to media reports, the investigation also revealed that one of the suspects, who was nevertheless at large, Moulana Tajudin, brother of the former deputy minister and Bangladesh National Party (BNP) leader Abdus Salam Pintu, had supplied the grenades used in the attack and that Mr. Salam Pintu himself had been arrested; that, according to media reports of August 2008, Mufti Abdul Hannan and two of his co-accused retracted their statements, affirming that they had been obtained under torture and that the court reportedly accepted their retraction petitions,

Considering that, according to the progress report provided by the Permanent Representative, 22 persons at present stand accused in this case, which is pending before the Speedy Trial Tribunal No. 1/Dhaka; that a hearing was scheduled for 11 November 2008, but adjourned to 17 November 2008,

Noting that, in the December 2008 legislative elections, the Awami League won by a large majority and that Sheikh Hasina was sworn in as the new Prime Minister,

  1. Welcomes the stated commitment of the new authorities to the pursuit of justice in this case, which is all the more essential as the course of justice has been wilfully and seriously thwarted;

  2. Notes therefore with satisfaction that action has been taken to hold to account the State officials who diverted the course of justice, including by torturing a person, and to establish responsibility for that crime; trusts that these steps address not only the initial investigation but also the statement of the current main suspect that his confession was obtained under duress; wishes therefore to ascertain whether or not the court has accepted Mufti Hannan's retraction and the grounds for its decision;

  3. Trusts that the authorities are making every effort to apprehend the investigating officers who have been summoned to court in order that responsibility for their action to divert the investigation may be established and the appropriate sanctions applied; would appreciate detailed information in this respect;

  4. Is confident that the newly elected parliament will exercise its oversight function to ensure due administration of justice in this case;

  5. Requests the Secretary General to convey this resolution to the parliamentary and judicial authorities, inviting them to provide the requested information;

  6. Requests the Committee to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session, to be held on the occasion of the 121st Assembly of the IPU (October 2009).
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