Tuesday, March 6, 2012

UN moved for faster Sagar-Runi probe

Journalists and Bangladeshi expatriates in Bonn, Germany, on Tuesday sought the United Nations' intervention for a faster investigation into the killing of journalist couple Sagar Sarowar and Meherun Runi.

In a memorandum submitted to UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, they requested UN assistance towards transparency in the enquiry and arrest of the killers without further delay.

Earlier in the morning, dozens of expatriate Bangladeshis along with citizens from other countries joined hands to form a human chain on the UN campus here in the former West Germany capital that currently hosts 17 United Nations institutions.

Journalists from Germany's international broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) Radio also participated in the human chain. Sagar had worked with the Bangla service from June 2008 to May 2011 as a radio host and reporter.

Sagar stayed there with his wife Runi, senior reporter of Bangla TV channel ATN Bangla, and their only son Mahir Sarowar Megh. On his return, Sagar joined Masranga Television as a news editor in Dhaka and has been working there until he and his wife were murdered on Feb 11 in their West Razabazar residence in Dhaka.

About a month into the killing police have failed to find out the motive behind killing, let alone identify and arrest the killers.

The memorandum submitted to the UN chief mentioned that different statements given by police relating to the killing have already caused frustration and confusion among people in Bangladesh.

Organisers of the human chain told that they had to turn to UN secretary-seneral since they had not heard any heartening remark from the Bangladesh government high-ups except hollow promises.

"We want to know who the killer is. We demand justice," said Marina Jwarder, Sagar's former colleague from the DW Radio.

She was critical of the recent High Court order on the media to not publish any news regarding the murders unless authenticity of the information was confirmed beyond doubt. "Freedom of press and right to information has been infringed by the direction of the Bangladesh High Court," she said.

Another Deutsche Welle journalist, Supriyo Banerjee, urged Bangladeshi journalists to rally behind their demand of justice.

"I wonder if they (the government) are trying to hide anything regarding the killing," said DW journalist Nikhil Ranjan.

One of Sagar's former German colleagues, Christianne Rabbe, attending the programme t hoped that justice will be served.

Deutsche Welle's Asia Department editor Sarah Berning urged the Bangladesh government to ensure security of journalists.

Bonn university researcher Dr Majharul Islam said, "Our appeal is that the United Nations helps Bangladesh government find out the killers through fair investigation. Through the United Nations we want the world to learn about the brutal killing."