Bangladesh ‘death squad’ trained by UK police resumes extra-judicial killing

Thursday, January 27, 2011

LONDON/DHAKA - A Bangladeshi paramilitary unit that receives training from British police has resumed killing people in so-called “crossfire” incidents that human rights groups say are extra-judicial killings.

According to The Guardian, the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) - condemned by human rights group as a “death squad” - ceased the killings briefly after the existence of the British training program was disclosed in US diplomatic cables posted on the internet by WikiLeaks last month.

However, the unit announced on 12 January that it had killed a 32-year-old man in Dhaka and since then has shot dead three more men in the capital.

According to a report published this month by the Bangladeshi rights group Ain O Salish Kendra, 133 people died in extra-judicial killings in Bangladesh last year.

RAB officers were said to be responsible for the overwhelming majority.

Another human rights group, Odhikar, put the figure at 127 and said that 74 died in operations involving RAB. Around 18 of those who died were said to be communist party activists.

Human Rights Watch, the New York-based NGO, has described RAB as a Bangladeshi government death squad, pointing out that senior political figures have expressed support publicly and privately for its policy of extra-judicial killings.

The group has called for the UK to withdraw its support. (ANI)

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