Killing of secular Bangla-bloggers ‘alarming’: UN


Geneva: While condemning the recent killing of bloggers in Bangladesh, UN human rights experts have cautioned that the incidents were “an alarming signal” of deterioration of the space for freedom of expression. In a statement issued from Geneva, United Nations Special Rapporteurs on freedom of expression, David Kaye, and on extrajudicial executions, Christof Heyns, called for a prompt and thorough probe into the incidents, reported an English Daily.

They stressed that it was vital to identify those responsible for the horrendous crime as well as those who masterminded the attacks. While noting that attacks against writers like,Ananta Bijoy Das, affected the society as a whole, Kaye said that the murders were “reprehensible in and of themselves” and exerted “a chilling effect with impact far beyond the direct victims.” He added that given the public nature of the crime, it was important for the authorities to condemn the crimes publically and emphasize the importance of free speech online and offline.

Heyns noted that it was the responsibility of the state to provide effective protection to individuals and groups who may be subject to extra-legal, arbitrary or summary executions. The statement urged the Bangladeshi authorities to consider specific initiatives to prevent the recurrence of such against writers and activists.

According to media accounts of police statements, Das was attacked by four men wielding machetes as he was on his way to work on the morning of May 12. He died instantly. Das, a banker, wrote blogs for Mukto-Mona , a website that had been moderated by another secular blogger, Avijit Roy, until he was killed in a similar attack in February in Dhaka. A third secular blogger, Washiqur Rahman, was hacked to death in March 2015. In February 2013, another atheist blogger, Ahmed Rajib Haider, was stabbed to death. A month later in March 2013, blogger Asif Mohiuddin who wrote blogs critical of aspects of Islam, was severely injured in a similar attack