Bangladeshi academic Mubashar Hasan may have been subject to an enforced disappearance, Amnesty International said on Monday.
His disappearance since 7 November, according to PEN America, "is yet another egregious example of Bangladesh’s failure to protect independent voices within Bangladesh’s intellectual sphere".
Known internationally for his work on Islamic extremism, North South University teacher Mubashar may have been subject to an enforced disappearance for his work, especially politics and rise of Islamic extremism, his friends fear.
"The disappearance of Dr. Mubashar Hasan is another in a long line of grave threats to scholars and independent thinkers in Bangladesh,” said Karin Karlekar, director of Free Expression at Risk Programs at PEN America.
“The authorities must step up efforts to find and free Dr. Hasan from whatever forces are responsible for his disappearance as soon as possible.”
Amnesty International urged the authorities to order an immediate investigation into Mubashar Hasan’s fate and whereabouts, keeping his family fully informed and updated at all times.
Quoting local and international groups PEN America said extrajudicial executions of political opponents and other critical voices by security forces remain a serious concern, with dozens of cases reported each year.
"During the past three years, hundreds of people - mainly opposition activists - have been illegally detained and held in secret detention," added Amnesty International.
It pointed out that over the past fortnight, however, there have been credible reports of other activists going missing, raising fears of a wider crackdown.
The London-based human rights group called on the Bangladesh authorities to order an immediate, impartial, independent and efficient investigation into all enforced disappearances, publicly disclose the findings and bring those suspected of criminal responsibility to justice in fair trials without recourse to the death penalty.