Six US Congressmen have urged US Secretary of State John Kerry to make sure that those behind the brutal killing of
Bangladesh-American blogger Avijit Roy are brought to justice.
“The United States cannot allow extremists to operate with impunity. We must stand strong for freedom of speech and freedom of thought,” said the letter signed by Congressmen Mike Honda, Ed Royce, Eliot Engel, Grace Meng, Steve Chabot and Ami Bera.
Spokesperson of the US Embassy in Dhaka Monica L Shie confirmed UNB about the letter which was sent to John Kerry on February 27.
The US Embassy and Department of State must remain engaged, and work with Bangladesh’s government to ‘insist’ that Avijit’s killers are brought to justice, and to ensure that threats to other secularists, and writers in Bangladesh are taken ‘seriously’, it mentioned.
“We’re deeply troubled by the brutal public murder of American writer Dr Avijit Roy,” reads the letter, a copy which was obtained by UNB.
The Congressmen said Avijit was a prominent Bangladeshi-American writer and blogger. He championed free speech, and advocated for liberal secular discourse in Bangladesh, through his books and Mukto-Mona blog platform.
Dr Roy had reportedly been receiving death threats from Islamist fundamentalists in Bangladesh, and it is presumed that this was a religiously motivated attack, they mentioned.
The Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris last month, the synagogue shootings in Denmark two weeks ago, and Dr Roy’s murder in Bangladesh are representative of the disturbing, and growing, number of attacks around the world by religious fanatics against freedom of speech advocates.
In another statement on Avijit murder, Eliot Engel, the leading Democrat on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs said, “I’m shocked and saddened to learn of the brutal murder of Avijit Roy, a Bangladeshi-American writer, and I convey my deepest condolences to Roy’s wife, Rafida Ahmed-who was also seriously wounded in the attack-and to his friends and family.”
Roy’s killers used machetes to murder him because of his opposition to religious extremism, Engel said.
“Though his killers have tried to silence Roy’s call for tolerance, his murder has instead amplified his critical message,” he added.
Engel urged the administration and Bangladeshi authorities to make every possible effort to bring those responsible to justice.
Avijit Roy was killed and his wife Rafida Afrin Banya injured seriously as unidentified criminals stabbed them near TSC on the Dhaka University campus on Thursday night.
Avijit and Rafida, an expatriate couple living in the USA, returned home a few days back as his two books were published on the occasion of Amar Ekushey Book Fair.