Diplomatic Correspondent |
Published: 10:39 PM, Dec 20, 2021
The United States announced on Monday a $ 5 million reward for information about the murderers in hiding of two Bangladeshi-born American citizens, Avijit Roy and his wife Rafida Ahmed, who were killed in 2015 in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka The US State Department announced the announcement in a tweet with the tweeter account « Rewards for Justice », which was looking for information about the inmates via Signal, Telegram and Whatsapp at 12027027843.
On February 16, 2021, the Dhaka Anti-Terrorism Special Tribunal sentenced five members of the banned extremist group Ansar al-Islam, also known as the Ansarullah Bangla Team, to death and another to life imprisonment for the murder of free-thinking blogger and writer Avijit Roy on April 26 February 2015.
The Bangladeshi American human rights activist Avijit, who wrote 10 books since down the bestseller « Bishwaser Virus » (Virus of Faith), was killed at the age of 43.
Those sentenced to death are the released army major Syed Mohammad Ziaul Haque alias Major Zia and Akram Hossain alias Abir as well as the imprisoned Mozammel Hussain alias Simon, Abu Siddique Sohail alias Shakib alias Sajid alias Shahab and Md Arafat Rahman.
The Tribunal stated that Shafiur Rahman Farabi would face a rigorous life sentence and two more years if he did not pay a fine of Tk 50,000.
Among the eight Ansar al-Islam members who were sentenced to death on February 10 for the murder of the Jagriti Prakashani publisher Foysal Arefin Dipon on October 31, 2015, were the people in hiding, Ziaul and Akram, and those imprisoned Mozammel and Sidduque. Dipon published two books by Avijit.
He was killed with the aim of discouraging and preventing freedom of expression by endangering public safety, so that in the future no one could freely write and express his views, the court found.
The court also found that Ansar al-Islam members attacked and killed Avijit, a science writer and blogger, on the way home after spending time with writers and visitors to the Ekushe Book Fair.
On February 26, 2015, Avijit Roy was hacked to death on a sidewalk near the Dhaka University Teacher-Student Center after leaving the Ekushey Book Fair on the Bangla Academy premises. His wife Rafida Ahmed Bonya was also injured in the attack.
Avijit’s father, the physicist Ajoy Roy, filed a case against unidentified attackers at the Shahbagh police station on February 27, 2015.
A number of free thinkers and secular bloggers, including Avijit Roy, Washiqur Rahman, Ananto Bijoy Das and Niloy Neel, LGBT activists Xulhaz Mannan and Mahbub Rabbi Tonoy, and worshipers and priests belonging to minority religions, were allegedly found by religious extremists in the country between 2015 and 2016.
Editor: Nurul Kabir, Editor: Chairman, Editorial Board ASM Shahidullah Khan
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