Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] released a report [text] Thursday documenting brutality by Bangladeshi security forces in responding to street protests, resulting in the death of at least 150 protesters and the injury of at least 2,000 since February. Brad Adams, executive director of HRW's Asia Division, urged [press release] the government to take firm action to rein in security forces before upcoming national elections and war crime verdicts, which are likely to carry with them an increased frequency of street protests and a higher risk of violence. HRW called on the Bangladeshi government to ensure that their security forces immediately stop using excessive force against protesters, and further asked that an independent commission be appointed to investigate the deaths of the protesters and that UN special rapporteurs be allowed into the country to conduct independent assessments.
Violence between Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) [party website, in Bengali; GlobalSecurity backgrounder] protesters and Bangladesh police erupted [Reuters report] in February after the International Crimes Tribunal Bangladesh (ICTB) [Facebook page] sentenced to death [JURIST report] JI leader Delwar Hossain Sayeedee [JURIST news archive]. In March HRW called on [JURIST report] the government of Bangladesh and JI party leadership to encourage an end to the violence wracking the country. Later that month, several UN human rights experts, including the Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression and the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion, called on [JURIST report] Bangladesh to cease violent protests and return to peaceful demonstrations.