Killers of Avijit Roy Must Face Justice, Family Says

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BD-ARoy-620-Mar2015 A policeman in Dhaka walks past a banner in memory of slain blogger Avijit Roy, March 6, 2015.

The father of secular blogger Avijit Roy, who was murdered in Dhaka last month by suspected Islamists, Wednesday called on the FBI to help bring his son’s killers to justice.

“I want to emphasize, the killers must be unearthed as soon as possible,” Ajoy Roy told BenarNews by telephone from his home in Dhaka.

The interview with the retired Dhaka University physics professor took place as U.S. investigators took hold of forensic evidence gathered at the crime scene for subsequent lab testing.

“And I ask that if the FBI is involved in the investigation, to help our agencies, so with their cooperation and technological support, I sincerely hope that the culprits will be brought to justice,” Ajoy Roy said.

“I only can sincerely hope, because the culprits are very elusive persons, particularly in the context of Bangladesh. But again, with the cooperation of the FBI and our local agencies, it is quite possible the culprits will be put to justice,” he added.


On Wednesday, police in Dhaka handed FBI investigators alleged weapons, blood and other evidence gathered from the scene of Avijit Roy’s Feb. 26 slaying.

Twelve to 13 pieces of evidence, including a pair of machetes and a sample of blood, were now in the hands of the American agency, which would examine it at its laboratories, Dhaka Metropolitan Police spokesman Monirul Islam said, according to

“We have handed the two machetes believed to be used in the murder, a bag, the blood sample and several other [pieces of] evidence over to the FBI," the Press Trust of India (PTI) quoted Islam as saying.

Ahead of the transfer of evidence, police had obtained special permission from a local court to allow the evidence to be examined in a foreign lab, he added.

The FBI intervened in the case after Bangladeshi authorities accepted an American governmental offer to help with their investigation into the killing of Roy, 42, a naturalized U.S. citizen.

The founder of the Mukto-Mona (Free Thinker) blog-site reportedly had received death threats from Bangladeshi Islamists for his writings against religious fundamentalism in his native Bangladesh.

His assailants hacked him to death with machetes on the night of Feb. 26, as he and his wife, Rafida Ahmed Banna, were leaving a book fair on the campus of Dhaka University. Banna lost a finger and sustained other wounds in the attack.

An Islamist group, Ansar Bangla 7, claimed responsibility for Roy’s murder.

‘This they sincerely believe’

So far, the police investigation has led to the arrest of one suspect. Police identified him as Shafiur Rahman Farabi. They also detained a second person of interest, whom they did not identify, but released him for lack of evidence. 

“We don’t have any clear lead yet. The principal suspect who was taken into custody has denied his involvement in Avijit’s murder,” Monirul Islam, joint commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (Detective Branch), told reporters on Sunday.   

Asked whether his son was slain because of his writings, Ajoy Roy replied, “I don’t know the motive of the killers, but these are fundamentalists, Islamic fundamentalists.”

Such people believe that they will ascend to heaven if they kill people who are muktad – those who don’t believe in Islam – or kafir – those who are non-Muslims, he explained.

“This they sincerely believe. And that’s why they, I think, killed Avijit, because of his opinions, his secular and liberal writings.”

Widow speaks

Meanwhile, in her first public statement since the attack, Avijit Roy’s wife criticized police, saying that cops were nearby but stood idle as her husband was killed in cold blood, news wire agencies reported Wednesday.

"While Avijit and I were being ruthlessly attacked, the local police stood close by and did not act," Banna told Reuters by email. "Now, we demand that the Bangladeshi government do everything in its power to bring the murderers to justice."

Banna is recovering from her injuries in the Atlanta area, where she lived with her husband.

"As his wife, fellow writer, and a free thinker, I strongly condemn this gruesome act of terror," AFP quoted her as saying in the emailed statement.

By BenarNews staff with inputs from agencies and local media


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