Maungdaw, Arakan State: Mohamed Farid, 35, a Rohingya from Kha Moung Zeik (Fakira Bazar) was tortured to death by the Burmese Border Guard police (BGP) at their headquarters in Maungdaw, Arakan State between 3rd October and 5th October according to Halim, a Maungdaw based human rights watchdog.
Halim said that Farid, who lived in BGP area No. 2, was arrested on 3rd October by the BGP who alleged he was linked with the rebel group the Rohingya Solidarity Organisation (RSO). He was then sent to BGP headquarters in Maungdaw where he was tortured to make him confess to being a member of the RSO.
Farid refused to admit being a member of the RSO or to name any other RSO members. He told the BGP he was a trader and had no links to the RSO. The BGP then tortured him from 3rd to 4th October until he was seriously injured. He was then sent to Maungdaw hospital during the night of 4th to 5th October and he died there on 5th October according to a village administration officer who wishes to remain anonymous.
He said that BGP personnel then called Farid’s wife and told her to sign a statement, which stated that her husband’s death was due to illness rather than torture.
Rashid, a school teacher from Maungdaw said that when the wife saw the body she passed out. She refused to accept that it was Farid because his face had been so badly beaten that she could not recognise him.
He also said that the BGP handed the body over to relatives and guarded it until it was buried in the cemetery at Ward No. 2 in Maungdaw Township.
Since the last week of September more than 100 Rohingyas in Ward areas 1 and 2 have been arrested by the BGP and accused of having links with the RSO. Some were sent to jail, some were interrogated and some may have died as a result of torture said Rafique, a businessman from Maungdaw.
The authorities want the Rohingya to identify themselves as Bengali in the recent population census in which the Rohingya refused to take part. The authorities have started arresting Rohigyas and accusing them of having links with the RSO. Some have died in custody, others have been sentenced to prison terms and some are being interrogated at BGP headquarters according to Rafique.