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How I Was Abducted And Tortured

By William Gomes

17 June, 2011

Bangladeshi journalist and human rights activist William Gomes describes how he was abducted and tortured

On Saturday, May 21, 2011, in the morning, I went out for some work. When I was returning to my house from the highway near the Sayedabad Bus Terminal a man, who appeared to be taller than me with a height of 5 feet 7 inches, stopped me and said, "Please come near to the car", showing a car waiting on the road facing toward to Bashabo direction. Then, I looked at the car, which was indicated by the person. It was black Mitsubishi Pajero jeep with tinted windows.

I accompanied the person with the very intention of helping and the principle of showing the path to a person who might have lost his way and needed my assistance.

As I walked beside the black car I found the door was opened just next to me and from my back the man, who called me to come to the car, pushed me inside the car and from inside another man forcibly pulled me inside. These two persons, who pushed me from outside and pulled me into the vehicle, sat on my left and right hand side on the seat in the middle of the vehicle. They asked my name by a question, You are William Gomes? I replied in the positive. Immediately, they put black ribon on my eyes (blindfold) and then a black mask (hood) on my head. They took my belongings that include my bag, mobile phone and wallet. The two men sitting on my two sides pointed what felt like guns to my head from both sides and said "Kuttar bachcha (---------), sound korbina (Don't make any sound)! Taile eikhan eiy guli koira dimu (Then, we will shoot you right here); Tore marar order hoise (Already order has been issued to kill you).

Then a man, who was sitting on the left seat to the driver, asked the driver to go to the 'Headquarter'. As the car started moving very fast a call came to a cell phone, which was carried by one of the abductors. The man received the call and the conversation I heard that he was saying, "Sir! Sir!! Kuttar bachcha re dhorsi (------- is caught!). Sir! Sir!! Ekhon e handcuff dita chhi (We are going to handcuff him right now!). Then they took my wrists and handcuffed me behind my back.

The car was moving fast. After around 40 minute it stopped at some place where they brought me out of the car. Two persons were holding my arm and shoulders from two sides while one them asked, "You move by yourself!" I said, "I cannot see. How can I move?" The man said, "Kuttar bachcha dekhos na (-----, can't see?) RAB er sob kisue tora dekhsos (You see everything what the RAB does). Tor putki dia aje ke gorom gorom dim dimu (We will push hot boiled egg through your anus today). Tor bapera tore kivave bachay dekhbi ne (You will see how your fathers -- meaning AHRC, other international human rights organisations and international community -- save you).

They took me inside of something and instructed someone to press nine. Then I understood that it was a lift, which was going to the ninth floor of a building.

They took me inside of a room and made me fully naked by taking off all my cloths including the underwear. One of them said, "Jarojer bacha muslomani kora abar nam dise christian (-------------is circumcised but takes a Christian name). Ei kuttar bacha RAB, army'r birudhee kaj korbe na to ke korbe (Who else will work against the RAB and Army except these-------)? Sob jaroj gula e kaj kore (All the ----- do the similar works).

The other man said, "Hurry up! Brigadier Sir is coming! Do not talk much now! Sirs will do their jobs; Onek mota file ase kuttar bachar namey (Very thick file is there against this -).

They put me on the floor and asked, "Sejda de kuttar bacha! (Bow down – like the Muslims touch their heads on the ground as part of prayer – -------)!

I did not understand what I was asked to do. Then, a man forced me to bow down like sejda warning me not to touch the floor with my head. Then the man said, "Sejda dia thakbi jarojer bacha (Keep in this position like Sejda, ----------); Matha tulbi to putki dia gorom dim dimu (If you raise your head, hot eggs will pushed into your anus). Tor babara, AHRC r baba go hate pia loi sob gula re putki dia 100 ta koira dim dimu (Whenever we will catch your fathers, the fathers from the AHRC, we will push one hundred hot eggs through their anus each). Suddenly, the man stopped talking to me and said, "Sir! Sir!! Ready Sir! Subject is ready!"

I was feeling cold in that highly cold room without any clothes on my whole body during this time. An unknown voice asked me, "William Gomes, when did you last time went out of the country?" I replied, "Maybe in August last". "Where?" he asked. I replied, "In Hong Kong". He said, "You forgot the date? You khankir pola (), jarojer bacha RTHK (Radio Television Hong Kong) te jia ki koisos buila gesos (--------, did you forget what did you said in RTHK)? koto taka pisos ei sob desh birodhi kotha bolar jonno (How much money have you received for doing this type of anti-state activities?) I said, "I did not say anything bad." Then, they played the RTHK radio programme and said, "You and your AHRC is only good and Hasina (Prime Minister of Bangladesh) is bad?"

I fell down on the floor on two occasions during this period. I felt that blood was coming out throughout my nose. I was felling extremely cold. They asked me, "When did you last meet with Khaleda Zia? Where is the money? Where is the koti (10 million) Taka that you have received?" I said that, "I have never met Khaleda Zia in my life. As a libertarian I do not meet with the right wing people." A new voice then said, "Kuttar bacha, Mishu'r case e koto taka pisos Khaleda Zia'r kas thika , (how much money did you receive from Khaleda Zia by dealing with the case of (Moshrefa) Mishu (a workers' leader, who belongs to the pro-communist party)?).

At this point one man started talking in native English and asked me, "How much did the AHRC gives you as source money? How many people do you have inside the RAB and the police?" He also asked, "How did you manage the audio record of Mishu's statement from the custody? How did you mange to organize protests in (South) Korea for Mishu?"

I kept quite because I was feeling that my brain would soon come out of my head. Then, one of the interrogators, who was previously asking questions, said, "Kuttar bachcha chup keno (Why is the --------- maintains silence)? Gola fataia tor bapera to sara pruthibi te koita tace RAB band korte (Your fathers have been shouting crazily all over the world to disband the RAB). Tor bapeder ban kormu, aj ke tore agey ban koira nei (We will ban your fathers; let us first ban you today).

Then they asked, "When did you go to (Pakistan controlled) Kashmir? When did you meet with the ISI (Inter Service Intelligence of Pakistan) people?" I said that "I never went there". They said, "We have information that you are appointed by the ISI to destroy the Bangladesh army, RAB and the police".

I said, "I never knew anyone of the ISI; I am a human rights activist. I only work for the AHRC." They said, "We know that you are a dalal (collaborator) of AHRC; they are the greatest enemy of Bangladesh and army." Your boss came to Bangladesh and said the army may come to power. What is the problem of---------------]? That kuttar bacha (----------) has been kicked out from his own country and that kuttar bachar sahos ki vave hoy Bangladesh army'r biruddhe kotha koi (How dare this son of dog speaks against the Bangladesh Army?)

Khankir pola, tui Birganj er thana burn korar jono taka disos (---------, you have paid money for burning the police station in Birganj (in Dinajpur district, in northern Bangladesh). DGFI, NSI report taie koi (The report of the Directorate General Forces Intelligence-DGFI and National Security Intelligence-NSI reveals this information). AHRC ar ISI koto taka disilo (How much money did the AHRC and ISI give you)? Police re osomman koros (You dishonor the police)? Tor bape ra aisa desh chali bo (Will your fathers will come to rule the country)? Tor sob mail amader kase ase (We have all of your emails in our hand)! Ko kuttar bachcha! thana burn korte kare koto taka disos (Tell us, ----------, whom did you pay how much money for burning the police station)?

I answered that "I am against violence and I never learned from the AHRC to do any violence." The man said, "Ah ha re! koto sadhu! Torai to desher somman sesh koira dita sos (Wao! What a saint! You are destroying the dignity of the country); Desher er development bondho koira dita sos (Stopping the development of the country); Desh er bahirey mukh dekhaite pari na (We cannot show our face in abroad (for your work).

One of them said to another person, "Sir amader major Mustafiz bisoye ta jiggasa koren (Sir, ask him about our Major Mustafiz (Mr. Mustafizur Rahman Bokul, an army major, who was the main instigator of the eye-gouging and fracturing of limbs of human rights defender Mr. FMA Razzak); Bangladesh army'r man ejjot sesh koira dise ei shuorer bacha ra (These --------have finished the prestige and dignity of the Bangladesh Army).

Another man asked, "How much money did you get to defame the Bangladesh army officials like major Musfatiz?" I said, "I am not against the Bangladesh Army. But there are bad people in the army, who kill people whenever they take over the power of the country. The man said, "Kuttar bachcha (-------)! Army kharap r tomra bhalo (Army is bad and you are good)? Jaroj er bacha (Son of bastard)!

NSI'r filey tor choddo gustirr khobor asey (There are detailed information of your fourteen generations in the files of the NSI); Tor bap e der sob khobor ase (All information about your fathers are also there). Tui Dulal re disturb korsos keno (Why do you disturb Dulal, a man, who was abducted by the RAB from the Dhamal Court area adjacent to the Dhaka Cantonment in 2010 and later returned after many months. He was kept in a secret torture cell cum detention centre of the RAB)? Razib Sazib re disturb koros keno (Why do you disturb Razib and Sazib (Two cousins, who were recently kidnapped by the RAB and detained and torture for about five days and later handed over to the police implicating a fabricated snatching case)? At that time a phone rang and the man talk to someone as I heard he was saying, "Sir! Sir!! Finishing, Sir!"
Then the foreigner, who was speaking in native English, asked, "When will ----- come to Bangladesh?" I said, "I do not know anything about ----". He again asked, "When your boss will come?" I again said, "I do not know".

I felt so thirsty there at that time and I requested them to give me some water to drink. Then a man gave me water; it was mild hot and the taste of the water was not normal.

Then another man said, "Razzak is a dalal (collaborator) and cheat; Our good officer major Mustafiz is saving the nation from dacoit (robber) like you; He (Major Mustafiz asked his brother to bring the bastard (FMA Razzak) and chokh ta tuila ne (Gouge out his eyes); Ei kuttar bachcha salar pola jeno ar dekhte na pare (As if this son of -------- can never see with his eyes). Kuttar bachcha Razzak er jonno aamader ghum haram (We could not sleep for this ----- Razzak); Sob jaiga thika sudhu mail r chiti (So many mails and letters have come to us all over (the world]). Tui kouttar bachcha ko koto taka pisos (--------! Tell us, how much money have you received)? Haramair bachcha! Taka tor putki dia dimu (Son of bastard! We will push the money through your anus)!

Police, magistrate der bolia dia hoise (Police and Magistrates are already instructed). Ja eibar joto khusi fight kor (Now, go! Fight your case as much as you can!) Oi salar pola Razzak er case e court ar police re amra ja rai ditey komu ta e dibo (Whatever we will instruct the court and the police to do regarding the case of Razzak that verdict will be declared)!

One of them said, Sob gula desho drohi (All are traitors)! Ei gula ei deshe thakar joggo na (These people do not deserve a place in this country); Passport gula nia fela dorkar ei kuttar bachchader (The passports of these -------- should be confiscated).

I was also asked who were the people in the diplomatic missions helping us? They asked, "Who are the countries that are providing funds to you?" I said, "We do not have any funds." They also asked, "Why I am interested about the Bangladeshi nationals in Indian jails (for which my organization Christian Development Alternative (CDA) wrote letter to the authorities requesting them to solve the problem from the human rights perspective.)? Why I am defaming a good government having good relationships with India?"

That man talked about the poster and sticker and asked, "Who is drawing the posters and stickers and who is printing?" I said, "I do not know the designer. Only Zaman Bhai (Mr. Ashrafuzzaman, a staff member of the AHRC) knows; He has his friends -- teachers in charukola (Fine Arts Faculty of the University of Dhaka). But I know the man who prints the materials in the press; I know the place but do not know the exact address." They asked, "Why did you send the materials to the parliament? We got complaints from the parliamentarians also! They talk about a law on torture! They must know that the law will never be passed! We will make it sure!"

Then one officer said, "O re ekta rastro drohi mamla den (Fabricate a treason case against him); then, another person said, "Na, ore jongi mamla dai (No, we should fabricate a militancy case against him). Then the foreigner's voice said, "He is a terrorist!"

The other man said, "Kill him and give to magur machh (Clarias gariepinus (a species of fish that eats up human beings) like Salim (A petty businessman who has been disappeared after the RAB arrested him from Gazipur a year ago for which the lawyers of the AHRC filed a Habeas Corpus petition before a High Court Division Bench of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh).

I started crying and said, "I have two small sons; please pardon me! I will never do this work again!"

Then, one of them said, "Kuttar bachcha! Tumi korba na (--------! You will not do!)! Tumar baba ra to aj ke e as ta ce (Your fathers are coming today)!! Amra jani na mone korso (Don't you think that we don't know it)? Haramir bachcha, amader ghum haram koira abar baire theke harmair bacha der daika nia an ta so (Son of bastard, destroying our sleep now you are bringing other sons of ------from abroad)? Desher er development ar somman sesh koira dita sos (You are finishing the development and dignity of the country)!

I said that I will not go (to the Asian Human Rights Commission) and "I will do no more work for the AHRC". Then, the man said, "You better not leave the work! Behave well until ------- are in the country. Do not tell them anything about our meeting! Go and behave like a normal man! You better listen to us! Otherwise, we know better how to make you listen!"

Then they took me in another room put my pants and t-shirt on and dragged me out from the room; put me in a similar car, which drove fast as well. When they took off my blindfold and hood I saw the same 5 feet 7 inches tall man came near to the car. He was carrying my belongings -- bag, mobile phone and wallet. I understood that it was the same car. The man was standing near to a vehicle of RAB and said, "Kuttar bachcha! Mukh khul ley magur mas re dia khamou (-------! If you open your mouth we will arrange Clarias gariepinus to eat you up); Amara tor sob dekhta ci (We are watching your every movements).

My health situation has gotten worse since that day. They might have put something in that water, which I drunk in their custody. I am having pain in both legs, particularly in knees and ankles. I find it very hard to write. Sometime I appear to be paralyzed; I do not find strength in hands; my body trembles and I feel that I will collapse at any time. I cannot sleep properly. Any small sound rings like big bang to me! I have pain in my backbone and at the whole of my back. Sometimes I cry when I remember that they made me naked and called me with very bad names. Can you imagine they called me jaroj (bastard)?

I fell that I should kill myself. They humiliated me but I cannot do anything. I am sure enough that the Commander of the Media and Legal Wing of RAB, M Sohail, was there in that room while they did all these to me and he was the man, who was translating to the foreigner.

It seems that my life is finished! They took me at around 10:30am in the morning (on 21 May 2011) and when I reached home it was around 3:30pm. I feel the pain . . . experience the pain all the time. I am very much ashamed whenever I think that they made me naked and forced me to bow me down before them like a slave! They blamed me to have connection with the ISI! I am not a man like that! I never went to Kashmir and Pakistan in my life!

I am felling so restless and tired! I am feeling pains in my head. It seems that something is moving inside my brain. I want to give good answers to the people who made me naked. I want them to know that I am powerless and poor and weak, but I am also fearless! I do not want to be killed by them like the DGFI and I want to sleep well, I still want to be a human rights lawyer. . .


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