Riazul Islam was arrested by Bangladeshi police one evening, walking home from a visit to his wife's family. A few hours later he was shot dead in this sandy field, just outside the capital of Dhaka. Police say he was involved with drugs, and he was killed in a gunfight with officers and other dealers.
But his parents say police extorted money from their son and then killed him. He was killed in a new anti-drug campaign that's quickly drawing parallels to the violent drug war of Philippines' President Rodrigo Duterte, as Reuters' Clare Baldwin reports.>> This is the newest front line in Asia's war on drugs.
I'm in Tonggi, a neighborhood north of Dhaka, where a young man was arrested before being shot dead by the police. The police say it was a shootout, his family says it was murder.>> Islam is one of hundreds shot dead by police in Bangladesh since May, right after the country's Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, announced a ramped up drug war.
In the same way the country's security forces had tackled extremists, she said, they would also tackle drugs. The public face of the campaign has seen high production TV ads, warning of the risks of addiction. But just like in the Philippines, the violent reality of the crackdown is playing out on the streets.
Here the killings follow a script. Suspects die in, quote, gunfights, typically at night, with weapons and drugs found nearby. Police killings of drug suspects have been happening all across Bangladesh. Human rights groups here say of the 211 suspects killed since May, more than a third were already arrested.
The UN, along with the US and EU, have all expressed their concern.>> Even if people have been selling or using drugs, that does not mean that you have the right to kill them. They need to have the right to due process.>> The country's Home Affairs minister told Reuters, police don't kill or execute anyone.
But the officer in charge of the operation to arrest Riazul Islam said arresting drug dealers doesn't work, and quote, every drug dealer should be killed. Thousands had been arrested in the country's slums since the campaign began, and the country's Prime Minister told parliament in June, the anti-drug drive would continue, no matter what.