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Bangladeshi Bloggers: Five Killings, No Convictions

By BenarNews Staff
2015-08-07
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At an event organized in Kolkata, India to pay homage to them, a poster (left) shows pictures of murdered Bangladeshi bloggers, May 16, 2015.
At an event organized in Kolkata, India to pay homage to them, a poster (left) shows pictures of murdered Bangladeshi bloggers, May 16, 2015.
AFP

Updated at 5:48 p.m. ET on 2015-08-28

Here are details about the killings of five secular bloggers in Bangladesh since February 2013. Four of these men were murdered within the past six months. To date, 11 suspects are behind bars.

Ahmed Rajib Haider, 26

On Feb. 15, 2013, self-proclaimed defenders of Islam fatally attacked secular blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider with machetes. He had been taking part in protests at Dhaka’s Shahbag Square against war criminals from the 1971 Bangladeshi war of independence.

Seven men were arrested in connection with his murder, which police suspect was carried out by Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT),a shadowy group also known by other names, including Ansar Bangla 7 and Ansar Bangla 8.

The seven were charged with Haider’s murder in January 2014, but have yet to stand trial.

Avijit Roy, 42

On Feb. 26, 2015, Bangladeshi-American blogger Avijit Roy was killed by machete-wielding assailants as he and his wife left a book fair at Dhaka University, a haven for secular thinking in the Bangladeshi capital.

According to police, Ansar Bangla 7 claimed that it killed Roy, a founder of the Mukto-Mona (Free Mind) blog.

On March 2, Bangladesh’s Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) arrested Shafiur Rahman Farabi as a suspect in the killing. He remains in custody.

He reportedly had threatened Roy via Facebook for his blogs posted in Mukto-Mona.

Farabi earlier had been arrested for inciting attacks on bloggers via social media, following Ahmed Rajib Haider’s murder in 2013. In the earlier case, Farabi bailed out of jail.

In early May, al-Qaeda in the Indian Sub-continent (AQIS) posted a video claiming it had carried out the killing of Roy and other secular bloggers in South Asia.

Washiqur Rahman, 27

On March 30, 2015, Washiqur Rahman was slain by three suspected Islamists in broad daylight in Dhaka.

Two of the alleged suspects – identified by police as Zikrullah and Ariful – were arrested near the site of the attack, but a third suspect, identified as Abu Tahel, got away. A fourth one,Masum, the plot’s alleged mastermind who was not at the scene of the crime, remains at-large.

 

Ananta Bijoy Das, 30

On May 12, 2015, Ananta Bijoy Das was hacked to death in the northeastern Bangladeshi city of Sylhet.

Ansar Bangla 8 praised his murder but pinned responsibility for it on al-Qaeda’s South Asian affiliate, AQIS.

“As AQIS claimed responsibility, use the name. Don’t use Ansar Bangla 8,” it tweeted in the immediate aftermath of Das’ murder.

A photojournalist from Sylhet, Idris Ali, has been arrested in connection with his killing.

Niladri Chottopaddhya (Niloy Neel), 40

On Aug. 7, 2015, Niladri Chottopaddhya was murdered in cold blood in his fifth-floor apartment in suburban Dhaka by at least three men.

His killers forced his wife and sister-in-law into another room while they hacked at him with machetes.

No suspects have been arrested, but Bangladeshi Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said authorities were looking for the killers.

In May, Chottopaddhya wrote on his Facebook page that he had been followed home from a demonstration and sought police protection, to no avail.

“These kinds of murders had taken place before and there was no justice. If they were brought to justice, I would not have lost my husband today,” Chottopaddhya’s wife, Ashamoni, told reporters.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Niladri Chottopaddhya as Niladri Chakrabarty.

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