The Freedom Party: origins, objectives and treatment of members (1995-2002) [BGD38471.E]

The Freedom Party (FP) of Bangladesh was founded in August 1987 by Lt. Col. (Ret.) Said Faruq Rahman and Lt. Col. (Ret.) Khandakar Abdur Rashid (Europa 2001 2001, 631; Islam and Islamic Groups 1992, 28), two of the leaders of the 1975 coup (Political Handbook 1999 1999, 78; Political Parties of the World 1988, 39). Described as "right wing" (AFP 24 June 1996) and "Islamic" (Political Handbook 1999 1999, 78; Islam and Islamic Groups 1992, 28), it was reportedly formed to oppose the Awami League (ibid.).

Although described as non-parliamentary (Independent 18 June 2001) and "nearly-defunct" (United News of Bangladesh 19 June 2001), the FP took part in the October 2001 national elections (Bangladesh International Election Observer Network 19 Sept. 2001). The FP has alleged ties with "ultra right-wing groups such as the Harkatul Jihad," which is linked to the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in Pakistan (Pioneer 19 June 2001).

The Freedom Party has a youth wing called the Jubo Command (AFP 8 Feb. 1997).

AFP reported that the daily publication Millat, edited by Chowdhury Mohammad Faruq, who is reported to be associated with the FP, is a "mouthpiece" for the party (24 June 1996).

Shamsul Alam Liton, one of the people arrested in connection with the June 2001 bombing of an Awami League meeting in which 22 people were killed, is reportedly an "armed member of the small right-wing Freedom Party" (Independent 18 June 2001).

No information on the treatment of members of the Freedom Party was found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

For further information on the Freedom Party of Bangladesh please refer to BGD36400.E of 12 March 2001, BGD28870.E of 27 February 1998, BGD18576.E of 1 November 1994 and BGD17732.F of 5 July 1994.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Agence France Presse (AFP). 8 February 1997. "Members of Party Founded by 1975 Coup Leaders Face 'Treason' Charge." (NEXIS)

_____. 24 June 1996. "Bangladesh: Former Coup Leaders Reportedly Flee in Fear of Arrest." (FBIS-NES-96-123 26 June 1996/WNC)

Bangladesh International Election Observer Network. 19 September 2001. "Political Parties Participating in the 2001 Election." [Accessed 25 Feb. 2002]

Europa World Year Book 2001. 2001. Vol. 1. London: Europa Publications.

The Independent (London). 18 June 2001. Anis Ahmed. "Mourning in Bangladesh." (Reuters/NEXIS)

Islam and Islamic Groups. 1992. Edited by Farzana Shaikh. London: Longman Group UK.

The Pioneer (New Delhi). 19 June 2001. "Indian Daily Says Bomb Blast Give Ominous Signs for Bangladesh Politics." (FBIS-NES-2001-0619 20 June 2001/WNC)

Political Handbook of the World 1999. 1999. Edited by Arthur S. Banks and Thomas C. Muller. Binghampton, NY: CSA Publications.

Political Parties of the World. 1988. Edited by Alan J. Day. London: Longman Group UK.

United News of Bangladesh. 19 June 2001. "Narayanganj-Case." (NEXIS)

Additional Sources Consulted

IRB Databases

IND Country Assessments


US Department of State Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

World Encyclopedia of Political Systems & Parties


Youth Movements of the World

Internet sites including:

Amnesty International

Human Rights Watch