Bangladesh government
Farhad Mazhar has been found unharmed and has been taken to Dhaka.


A prominent critic of the Bangladesh government has been found safe a day after his family reported him missing, sparking fears he had been abducted, police said Tuesday (4).

Farhad Mazhar, a well-known poet, writer and dissident, was found by police travelling on a coach around 200 kilometres (120 miles) from the capital Dhaka, where he lives.

It is not clear what he was doing there, but police deputy inspector general Didar Ahmed told reporters it “did not look like a case of abduction”.

Bangladesh’s elite Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) began a trace of Mazhar’s mobile phone after his wife said Monday (3) she had received a call from him saying he was being taken away and feared for his life.

She also told police she had received a ransom demand of 3.5 million taka ($43,300) for her husband.

CCTV footage of Mazhar’s neighbourhood in Dhaka showed him walking away with a man early Monday morning.

The 69-year-old is a supporter of the country’s main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party.

BNP officials have said tens of thousands of their activists and supporters have been arrested by the government in recent years.

There have also been allegations of so-called enforced disappearances — where authorities detain people unofficially and hold them in secret jails.

But local RAB spokesman Utpal Roy said: “He (Mazhar) was found on the bus, unharmed. He has been taken to Dhaka.”