Rahman is busted

Law enforcement people in Bangladesh have arrested Farabi Shafiur Rahman in connection with the murder of Avijit Roy.

A spokesman for the police’s elite Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) said Farabi Shafiur Rahman had been arrested at a bus station in the capital over the brutal murder of Avijit Roy. “He is the main suspect,” RAB spokesman Maj Maksudul Alam said.

Rahman had threatened Roy several times before, including on Facebook, where he said Roy would be killed upon his arrival in Dhaka. The suspect has been handed over to the police’s detective branch, which is investigating the killing.

The RAB paraded Rahman before the press at its headquarters in Dhaka where another RAB spokesman, Mufti Mahmud, described him as a member of the banned pan-Islamist outfit Hizb ut-Tahrir.

“On different occasions, he exchanged [Roy’s] location, his identity and his family’s photographs with various people,” Mahmud told reporters.

With a view to getting him killed, and it worked.

A source within the RAB, which is mainly responsible for tackling religious militancy within the Muslim-majority country, said correspondence between Rahman and another person about killing Roy had been discovered.

The atheist blogger had angered fundamentalist groups through his blogs and books, including Biswasher Virus (Virus of Faith), about science and religion.

Nope nope nope. You’re doing it again. Your putting the agency on Avijit when it belongs on the fascist theocrats. The fascist theocrats chose to get in a rage at Avijit for writing books and blog posts. The responsibility is on them,  not on Avijit.

Roy, a mechanical engineer and founder of the blog Mukto-Mona (free-mind), was killed when he was returning with his wife Rafida Ahmed from the book fair held every February. The couple arrived in Dhaka on 15 February to attend the launching of Roy’s books at the fair. His wife lost a finger on her left hand, but is out of danger, said doctors. She was due to fly back to the US on Monday, said family members.

That’s good to know, at least. But what a horror she’s left with.

Free speech advocates have called on the Bangladeshi government to protect the right of writers to speak freely.

“Instead, it has adopted a policy of appeasement of ‘religious sentiment’,” wrote Salil Tripathi, for English Pen, which campaigns for the freedom of expression. “This comes alongside intimidation of the mainstream media that are critical of the government, including the leading national newspapers. The media that has supported free thought and critical thinking is under assault from a government showing increasingly authoritarian tendencies.”

Salil is a comrade.



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