Bangladesh Civil Society for Migrants (BCSM), a platform of 19 member organisations, has demanded immediate and unconditional release of the 255 detained migrant workers in a joint statement on Thursday.
Recently these Bangladeshi migrant labourers were put on two weeks mandatory quarantine at Diabari, Uttara upon their return, and then they were arrested and sent to Kashimpur jail.
Initially, the court ordered the submission of the investigation report within 10 days, but later it was extended twice in response to a police request.
Media reports citing Bangladesh missions in the concerned countries, said that most of the detainees were charged for "being undocumented" and for petty narcotics offences in the destination countries, and received a royal pardon after having served half of the punishment or more.
Some of them served punishment for not abiding by the telecom rules, presumably for illegally selling talk time which is a common practice in Bangladesh and is not considered an offence.
None of them were brought back under any extradition arrangement. Police stated these migrants were arrested as they have "tarnished the image of the country abroad."
They were charged under section 54 of the Code of Criminal Procedure on the apprehension that if they are released and get dispersed they may commit crimes, including murder, robbery, terrorism and sabotage.
Sources at the police also said that they may be charged for committing "anti-government and anti-state" activities, including violent acts.
"The police have not clarified the motive of the detainees. Moreover, it is completely unlawful to arrest or detain someone for an offence that is yet to be committed," reads the statement.
"The families of the detainees have little information other than that their loved ones are in Kashimpur jail. It has also been reported in the media that there are instances of the families being harassed by the investigating officers and even being subjected to extortion. The families are in all sorts of uncertainty and expressing deep concern in this regard," it added.
The statement was signed by Dr CR Abrar, chairman of BCSM.
BCSM member organisations are Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit, Warbe Development Foundation, Brac, Bangladeshi Ovhibashi Mohila Sramik Association, Manusher Jonno Foundation, Ain o Salish Kendra, Obhibashi Karmi Unnayan Program, Human Rights Support Society and others.