23 March 2009

arrest & detention as a means to make money

last december, i wrote up the case of two men who were arrested and falsely implicated in the abduction of a 13-year-old girl in bangladesh. in actual fact, the police and others involved in the arrest were seeking revenge for a variety of reasons.

as the case unfolded, i was struck by two things: the absurdity of the events, and the inordinate level of corruption involved. payment had to be made for everything, from paying the police officers to give the food brought from home (no food was provided in custody) to the men, to topping up the lawyers' cell phones, to payments for what should/should not be written in official reports. as someone noted, it was a 'festival to make money'.

the exact amount of money and what it was paid for has now been tabulated in a new report, 'Use of police powers for profit'. apart from this bangladesh case, the report also includes cases from sri lanka, pakistan, the philippines and burma. they all spotlight the impunity that surrounds law enforcement agencies, and how large sections of the population are subjected to arrest, detention and even torture, simply for officers to make money.

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