지난 3월 31일, 방글라데시 다카(Dhaka) 고등법원은 ‘비사법적 처형’ 관련 사진 전시회의 관람자 입장을 막은 경찰에 대해 해당 도서관장이 제출한 진정 심리를 진행했다.
특수경찰병력인 RAB(Rapid Action Battalion)는 지난 3월 22일 ‘크로스파이어(Crossfire)’ 사진 전시회가 열린 드릭 사진 도서관(Drik Picture Library)을 에워싸고 관람객의 입장을 금지했다. 방글라데시에서는 RAB가 창설된 2004년 이래 수백 명이 목숨을 잃었으며, 전시회 제목은 이를 ‘크로스파이어’, 즉 ‘십자포화’라고
본 도서관의 관장이자 사진 기자인 샤히둘 알람(Shahidul Alam)박사는 방글라데시 경찰에 의한 비사법적 처형 장소 연구자료, 사진, 지도를 공개했다.
이 전시회는 경찰 병력에 의해 일주일이 넘도록 입장이 금지됐는데, 본전시회가 공식 허가를 받지 않았고, “무질서를 야기”할 수 있다는 이유에서였다.
향후 같은 일이 발생할 시 또 다시 진정할 것을 독려했다.샤히둘 알람 박사는 “이는 여러 측면에서 승리”라고 자축했다. 그는 “방글라데시 국민들의 알 권리와 예술가의 표현의 자유, 시민들이 불의에 항거할 권리라는 측면에서 모두 중요한 요소지만, 무엇보다 법원이 정부에 맞섰다는 사실이 법 집행의 토대를 세우기 위해 싸우는 이들에게 다시금 새로운 희망을 준다”고 지적했다.
국제앰네스티는 방글라데시 정부의 결정에 환영의 뜻을 밝히는 한편, 비사법적 처형과 관련된 향후 모든 평화적인 시위에 대해 제재하지 않을 것과 관련 가해자들을 재판에 세울 것을 방글라데시 정부에 요구했다.
Bangladesh lifts ban on extrajudicial executions images display
Thursday 1 April 2010
Amnesty International has welcomed the Bangladesh government’s decision to lift a ban on an exhibition of photographs raising awareness about alleged extrajudicial executions carried out by a special police unit.
The High Court in Dhaka heard a petition on Tuesday challenging the police for surrounding the Drik Picture Library and stopping visitors from entering the ‘Crossfire’ exhibition.
The petition was filed by the director of the Drik Picture Library, Dr Shahidul Alam, a photojournalist who created the exhibition which included photographs based on Drik’s case studies, pictures and maps, showing sites where victims of extrajudicial executions in Bangladesh, which government officials have portrayed as deaths in “cross fire”, were reportedly found.
The hearing did not proceed to a court ruling because government lawyers informed the judges that police had already been withdrawn from outside the gallery. The court encouraged the petitioners to file another petition if restrictions on the gallery were re-imposed.
Amnesty International has urged the Bangladesh authorities not to impose any other restriction on peaceful protests against extrajudicial executions in future, and to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Hundreds of people have been killed in Bangladesh since 2004 when the special police force, the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), was established.
In most cases, victims who die in the custody of RAB and other police personnel are later announced to have been killed during “crossfire” or police “shoot-outs”.
Amnesty International and other human rights organizations consider these killings to be extrajudicial executions.
“This is a victory on many fronts,” Dr Shahidul Alam said in statement following his victory.
“The right of Bangladeshi people to be informed, the rights of artists and media professionals to speak out, and the citizens’ right to protest against injustice, are all important factors, but the fact that the judiciary can stand up to the government gives renewed hope to a people fighting to establish the rule of law.
“It happened because the nation was united in protest, and that protest against all forms of injustice must continue.”
In a later email to Amnesty International he also said: “The statements from Amnesty and other human rights organizations also played a role in getting the news out, in mobilizing public opinion and I am sure in influencing the decisions taken by the government. This solidarity is our greatest weapon.”
The exhibition was officially reopened at a press conference on Wednesday, having been shut down for over a week.
On 22 March, hours before the exhibition was due to open, police moved in and demanded that the organizers cancel it. When they refused to shut it down police closed the premises, claiming that the exhibition had no official permission to open and would “create anarchy”.
Police were deployed outside the gallery for a week until they were withdrawn on Tuesday afternoon.