A woman named Sultana Jasmine, aged 45, died in custody of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) in Naogaon, Bangladesh. She was arrested on Wednesday, March 22, from the “Muktir moor” area of Naogaon city on allegations of financial fraud. According to RAB, Sultana Jasmine was detained for questioning and fell ill soon after being detained. She was immediately taken to Naogaon Sadar Hospital for treatment, and then to Rajshahi Medical College Hospital. She died on Friday, March 24, while undergoing treatment. However, Sultana Jasmine’s relatives have alleged that she died due to torture in custody.
The deceased’s uncle, Nazmul Haque, and former councilor of Naogaon Municipality, said that his niece left for the office on the day of the incident. RAB officials took her in a white microbus from Mukti Moor at around 10:30 am. However, the family did not know where she was taken. After midday, Sultana was found under treatment at Naogaon Sadar Hospital, where her family saw RAB personnel with her. But she was unable to speak. After some time, she was taken to Rajshahi Medical College Hospital, where she died on Friday morning while undergoing treatment. However, her body was handed over to her family on Saturday afternoon after legal proceedings.
Major Mustafa Zaman, the company commander of RAB-5, said that RAB received a complaint of financial fraud against Sultana. There were allegations of unusual transactions from her bank account. RAB found the truth of the complaint by looking at the bank statement, and based on that complaint, she was taken into RAB custody for questioning. But soon after her arrest, she fell ill, and RAB officials took her to Naogaon Sadar Hospital for treatment. After initial treatment, the doctors advised that she be taken to Rajshahi for better treatment. However, her condition worsened, and she died of brain hemorrhage at Rajshahi Medical College Hospital on Friday. After the legal process, her body was handed over to her relatives on Saturday afternoon.
According to FM Shamim Ahmed, director of Rajshahi Medical College Hospital, the woman fell and hit her head during RAB’s interrogation. She was initially admitted to Naogaon Hospital, and when her condition worsened, she was transferred to Rajshahi Medical College Hospital. After a CT scan, it was found that she had died of brain hemorrhage. She had a small red spot on her head, but no other injury marks were found on her body.
Sultana’s son, Shahed Hossain Saikat, said that his mother was a victim of a conspiracy and was tortured in RAB custody, which led to her death.
Regarding the allegations of torture, Major Mustafa Zaman said that the woman was not taken to any RAB camp after her arrest. She fell ill soon after her arrest, and her family members were with her from the time she was admitted to the hospital till her death. The allegation of torture is not correct.
It is important to note that Sultana Jasmine’s death in RAB custody has raised concerns in social media about custodial torture and the accountability of law enforcement agencies in Bangladesh. ( prothom alo)