The Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) sent an urgent letter to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh H.E. Ms. Sheikh Hasina urging to do everything in her power to guarantee the safety of Human Rights Lawyer Shahanur Islam. It also asks to ensure that the full and impartial investigation into the attack is carried out to its end, with a view to bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards.
Mr. Ranko Pelicaric, president of the CCBE, from Brussels, Belgium sent the letter on 16th September 2020 on behalf of the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe. The CCBE represents the bars and law societies 45 counties and through them more than 1 million European lawyers. It places great emphasis on respect for human rights and the rule of law and is particularly concerned with the situation of human rights defenders around the world.
The CCBE expresses its serious concern over the situation of human rights lawyer Shahanur Islam in the letter. It also draws the attention to the Prime Minister to the United Nations Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, in particular, Principle 16, 17, and 18 on Guarantees for functioning of lawyers and Principle 23 on Freedom of expression and association.
In addition, the CCBE asks the Bangladeshi Prime Minister to take all necessary measures to guarantee that all lawyers in Bangladesh are able to carry out their professional duties without fear of reprisal, hindrance, intimidation, or harassment in order to preserve the independence and integrity of the administration of justice and the rule of law.
In the letter, it states that according to information received, on 26th august 2020, Shahanur Islam was physically assaulted at the court premises of Naogaon district, while he was taking part in a hearing. It is noted that as soon as Mr. Islam was gotten out from the courtroom, he was subsequently attacked by a group of 10-12 politically motivated individuals. As a result of the attack, Mr. Islam suffered a serious injury under his left eye and the frontal side of his head.
The letter also highlights
that this was not the first time that lawyer Shahanur Islam was subjected to threats and harassment. The CCBE already expressed concerns it previous correspondence with the Prime Minister of Bangladesh in relation to the worrying situation of Mr. Islam who had received death threats due to his activities as a lawyer and as the General Secretary of the Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR)