Bangladeshi Labor Rights Activist Murdered

Aminul had been detained by officials of the National Intelligence Service (NSI) in June 2010. According to Aminul, he was subjected to severe and repeated beatings, which his captors said would stop only if he agreed to give false testimony against his colleagues at BCWS. The NSI officials demanded that he write a letter stating that his colleagues were the instigators of recent worker protests, which had resulted in damage to some factory buildings. Aminul refused. While being transported to another location, he managed to escape his captors and went into hiding.

Later that year, Aminul and two colleagues, Kalpona Akhter and Babul Akter, were arrested and jailed on charges of fomenting riots and related acts – charges regarded as baseless by international labor and human rights organizations. They were released only after substantial international pressure on the Bangladesh government and they still face trials.

On Wednesday of last week, after working during the day at BCWS's office in Savar, Aminul went to evening prayers. While there, he noticed a police van parked outside. Fearing harassment or arrest he called a colleague to say that they should close the BCWS office for the day. Aminul then returned to his home. Later in the evening, he received a call from a worker urgently seeking assistance. He left home to meet the worker and was never heard from again.

Labor rights organizations in the U.S. and Bangladesh are calling for a full investigation of the murder and for those responsible to be brought to justice.