Narinjara news

Four Myanmar prisoners released from Dhaka Central Jail while eight hundred more linger in prisons of Bangladesh

Reported by Shwe Lin Yun

Dhaka, 20
th February 02:  Five foreign nationals including four from Myanmar were released Tuesday yesterday from the Dhaka Central Jail.
These foreigners were held in prison for periods ranging from two to seven years after the expiry of their prison terms.  Officials of the Bangladesh Society for Enforcement of Human Rights (BSEHR) received them at the Dhaka Central Jail.  
        Four of the released foreigners are Myanmarese while one is an Indian.  None of the five intends to go back to their respective countries.  In this regards, the High Court has issued an order that, if political asylum cannot be granted to them within two months of their release in Bangladesh, they should be handed over to a third country within six months.

        In compliance with the High Court order the officials of the BSEHR took them to a house in Dhaka rented by the organization where they will be provided with bed and board.  Later moves will be taken to avail political asylum for them.  If the Government of Bangladesh is not willing to grant political asylum to them, measures will be taken to seek the help of a third country.  

        The released foreigners are Ramzan Ali (24),  Nurul Huq alias Nyunt Han (30),  Khaing Kaung (40), Tin Aung (40), from Myanmar, and Sanjib Dev Varma of India.  The four from Myanmar were fleeing the persecution by the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) junta in a fishing trawler.  On way when their trawler sank near Mongla port, the Bangldesh Coast Guards arrested them in April 1994.  The Magistrate in Bagerhat Court awarded each of them sentences for periods varying from three to five months and a fine of taka two hundred each for illegally entering into Bangladesh.   For failure of realizing the fine the court ordered 14 more days of imprisonment. 

        Sanjit entered illegally into Bangladesh through the border of Srimangal in north-eastern part of Bangladesh to meet with his relatives in Bangladesh.  He had connections with the separatist movement in IndiaSanjit was also arrested for illegal entry into Bangladesh by the Chittagong Metropolitan Police.  He was sentenced for 1 year and 4 months by the Chittagong Metropolitan Magistrate on 24th February 1999.

        Earlier, Advocate Sigma Huda of the BSEHR filed a writ petition and the division bench comprising Justice Hamidul Haque and Justice Nazmun Ara Sultana issued on January 27 a Rule Nisi upon the government asking it to explain why the five foreign nationals shall not be set at liberty, said a press release Monday.

        Last  August five Myanmarese prisoners, who were kept behind bars for five years after the expiry of their prison terms as the SPDC junta refused to receive their own nationals, were set at liberty when UNHCR (Bangladesh chapter) interfered.

           According to a Myanmarese national released from the prison  there are about eight hundred Myanmarese nationals (ethnic Karen, Rakhine, Chin, Mon, Mrung and Muslim)  who have been denied recognition by the SPDC junta as Myanmarese nationals, lingering in the prisons of Bangladesh. He added that,  complications arise when the authorities in Bangladesh want to set the prisoners at liberty after the end of their prison terms but  either the Myanmarese Embassy in Dhaka or the SPDC junta in Yangon  never bother to recognize them as the nationals of Myanmar, or take very long to reply to the requests by the Government of Bangladesh.   A human rights activist commented that, this type of behaviour on part of the Myanmar SPDC junta is another kind of human rights violations outside its country. #