Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)-The wife of a British man who has been detained without charge in Bangladesh for over a year has said he faces false allegations from made-up witnesses ahead of what is expected to be a show trial for the country’s ruling party.
Fatima Rahman, a 26-year-old personal assistant from north London, has not been able to see or speak to her husband, Samiun Rahman, since he was picked up by police in Bangladesh while he was visiting family there last September, reports The Guardian.
She said he has been tortured during his detention and the family were forced to pay a bribe to prison officials to ensure his safety.
Rahman, 25, a cab controller, has been denied visits or letters from friends or family and has not been formally charged, although he is thought to be accused of recruiting jihadis to two terrorist organisations, Isis and al-Qaida.
He could face the death penalty or a life sentence if he is convicted, and Bangladesh has no right of appeal for capital punishment.
“We’ve no idea what he’s facing,” said Mrs Rahman, “which makes it doubly hard. Nobody has seen any evidence against him, even at his bail hearings, where bail has been refused.”
She only hears news of him after consulate visits.
“Physically he is fine, but mentally he is not doing so good.
If someone is held like that in prison for over a year, of course it takes its toll on you; anxiety and depression creep in.
He was such a laid-back, easygoing man before this. Fun to be around.
“I don’t believe for a minute he will get any kind of fair trial, and I don’t think it is working in his favour that he is a British citizen, as it suits the Bangladesh government to say that terror is coming in from overseas, that it’s foreigners coming in to commit crimes in the country. These people are simply politically motivated. Samiun doesn’t agree with violence or violent people and it’s very strange to hear his name used in connection with these terror groups.”
Bangladesh has a history of torture in recent years, including that of three Britons whose treatment – in which the British security forces were implicated – was widely condemned by human rights groups.
Its anti-terrorism forces, the notorious Rapid Action Battalion, have been implicated in extrajudicial killings and deaths in custody.
HM Nure Alam, a lawyer in Bangladesh who had been acting for Rahman, said the court’s refusal to give bail to his client had been perverse and wrong: “Even after requesting bail numerous times for Samiun Rahman, the high court did not accept the request. There is no evidence to support the accusations made against him, yet he has been held in prison for the last 10 months without any charge.”
A Foreign Office spokesman said this weekend: “Our staff in Bangladesh continue to provide assistance to a British national detained there since September 2014.
This includes prison visits to check on the individual’s welfare and regular contact with their family in the UK.”