30 March 2015
PEN International is appalled by the murder of blogger Washiqur Rahman Babu on 29 March 2015, near his home in Begunbari, Dhaka. The motive for the murder has yet to be confirmed, however, local news sources report that Babu wrote against religious fundamentalism. PEN calls for a full investigation into the murder of Washiqur Rahman Babu to ensure that all those responsible are brought to justice.
Washiqur Rahman Babu is reported to have blogged using the name Washiqur Babu on a number of websites and forums, including Shocholayoton, as well as on social media. He was attacked by three assailants with knives some 500 yards from his home in Begunbari, Dhaka, on Monday morning. He was declared dead on arrival at hospital. Police have launched an investigation and recovered the weapons used in the attack. In addition, two men have been arrested over the murder, however, the third remains at large. No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack.
Babu is the third blogger to have been murdered in Bangladesh in the past two years, and the second in a little over a month. On 26 February, secular writer and blogger Avjit Roy was hacked to death close to the Dhaka University campus. His wife was also critically injured during the attack.
Hard-line Islamist groups have demanded the public execution of atheist bloggers and sought new laws to combat writing critical of Islam.
PEN is deeply alarmed at the ongoing pattern of violence against writers and journalists in Bangladesh, who appear to be targeted with impunity solely for the peaceful expression of their views, and calls on the Bangladeshi authorities to ensure that the necessary measures are taken to bring all the perpetrators to justice.