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Bangladeshi labour organizer murdered

April 13, 2012

Above: Wife of Aminul Islam speaks at a rally demanding justice

Aminul Islam, a trade union organizer for the Bangladesh Garment and Industrial Workers Federation (BGIWF) and a member of the Bangladesh Center for Workers' Solidarity (BCWS) was found dead on April 5, 2012. Police pictures of his body suggest that Islam was tortured before being killed.

Aminul Islam became active in the Bangladeshi labour movement when he was elected Convenor of the Workers Representative and Welfare Committee at Shasha Denim Ltd., a factory located in the Dhaka export processing zone. When he was fired due to his union activity, he became a full-time organizer with BCWS and BGIWF. Due to his organizing activities Aminul was threatened by gangsters working for garment factory owners.

Aminul was previously detained and beaten by police in June 2010, along with two other leaders of the BCWS. The organization, which provides support to workers in Bangladesh's apparel industry, has been stripped of its legal status and its leaders subjected to numerous trumped-up charges for supposedly causing workers unrest during the 2010 campaign by garment workers for a decent minimum wage. During his previous arrest, police threatened to kill both Aminul and his wife.

National and international labour rights organizations are calling for an independent investigation and for further protective measures for BCWS staff.