A writ petition was filed on Sunday, seeking a High Court order for independent investigations into the death of 13 leaders of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party in jail custody across the country in last three months, before the January 7 parliament election and its aftermath.

The writ petition was submitted to the bench of Justice Mustafa Zaman Islam and Justice Md Atabullah for hearing, lawyer Kayser Kamal, who filed the petition in public interest.

Kayser Kamal prayed for a directive from the court to form a probe committee, which would include internationally recognised human rights activists to investigate each of the 13 incidents of death in jail custody. Kayser said that the authorities cannot avoid the responsibility of the deaths of the BNP leaders who died in jail during their detention.

He sought a ruling asking the government and the jail authorities to explain why they would not be directed to pay adequate compensations for custodial death of the BNP leaders.

He sought a directive asking the authorities of each jail to explain the reason of the death in their custody.        

Earlier on February 9, Bangladesh Nationalist Party senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi told reporters at a news conference that at least 13 leaders and activists of the party have died due to torture in prison in the past three months. ‘Every death is a planned murder,’ he said.

‘The news of the death of BNP leaders and activists who were victims of cruel torture in custody is coming repeatedly,’ added Rizvi.

‘Thirteen leaders of BNP died of torture over the past three months. Detained leaders-activists are subject to brutal torture at prisons, being deprived of all the privileges they should have according to the jail codes. They do not even get enough food and proper treatment.’

Rizvi made these remarks at a press conference at the party’s Naya Paltan central office in Dhaka on February 9.

The main opposition organised the briefing to address the deaths of several party leaders who died in custody recently.