Space For Rent

Space For Rent
Thursday, May 14, 2015, Baishakh 31, 1422 BS, Rajab 24, 1436 Hijr

Envoys, rights groups decry blogger killing
Diplomatic Correspondent
Published : Thursday, 14 May, 2015,  Time : 12:00 AM,  View Count : 159
Worldwide condemnation pours into media, soon after the gruesome murder of blogger Ananta Bijoy Das in Sylhet, which says Bangladesh is no longer 'safe' place for bloggers.
The diplomatic missions of France, United Kingdom, United States and European Union denounced Ananta's murder and urged the authorities to investigate the  murder and  bring the perpetrators to justice.
Official statement from the US Department of State posted on Facebook of US Embassy in Dhaka said, "The United States condemns the brutal murder of writer-blogger Ananta Bijoy Das in Bangladesh, the latest in a recent string of attacks against writers and bloggers in Bangladesh. We offer our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends. We hope the Bangladeshi authorities will find and bring the perpetrators to justice, and that all Bangladeshis strive to ensure space for the peaceful expression of ideas without fear of violence, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights."
The US Embassy in Dhaka in tweet on Tuesday condemned Ananta's brutal murder.
British High Commissioner in Dhaka Robert Gibson in a tweet, hours after the murder,  expressed his shock and condemned the brutal murder of Ananta Bijoy Das. He remarked that "there must be space for free speech in Bangladesh."
France also condemned Ananta's murder, according to a media statement released by the French embassy in Dhaka on Wednesday.
"This murder occurred three months after the murder of writer and blogger Avijit Roy, and one month after the murder of blogger Washiqur Rahman. France calls on the authorities to investigate these revolting acts."
"France reiterates its attachment to the freedom of opinion and expression, including online expression," the statement said.
The French government conveyed its condolences to Ananta's family and his relatives.
In another statement, the Delegation of the European Union (EU) to Bangladesh said Ananta is the third blogger who has been hacked to death this year in Bangladesh.
The EU reiterated its strong attachment to freedom of expression as an essential element of a democratic society and called for a prompt investigation to bring the perpetrators to justice.
The EU Ambassador Pierre Mayaudon also expressed his condolences to Ananta's  family.
Meanwhile, the Amnesty International (AI) said the Bangladeshi authorities must deliver justice over the shocking murder of the secularist Bangladeshi blogger Ananta Bijoy Das - the third such killing this year - if they wish to avert a looming crisis for freedom of expression in the country.
Abbas Faiz, AI's Bangladesh Researcher in a statement said, "Some of these killings have been claimed by extremists - but they have been facilitated by the official failure to prosecute anyone responsible."
"The murder of Bijoy Das again shows that Bangladesh is not doing enough to protect critics of religious intolerance, or to prosecute their attackers."
"The prevalent impunity for all these cases continues to send a message that such attacks are tolerated by the authorities. Ending impunity and ensuring protection for those at risk must be a priority for the Bangladeshi authorities," Abbas Faiz added.
New York based media rights group Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) urged the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to take urgent steps to ensure the security of critical bloggers in Bangladesh given this series of murders.
CPJ Asia Program Research Associate Sumit Galhotra in a statement writes, "Authorities can show their commitment to curbing this violent trend by finding Ananta Bijoy Das's killers and bringing them to justice."
Index on Censorship also condemned the brutal murder of Bangladeshi blogger Ananta Bijoy Das.
Index CEO Jodie Ginsberg said: "Our sympathies are with the family of Ananta Bijoy Das. Like Avijit Roy and Washiqur Rahman, he was targeted simply for expressing his own beliefs. We are appalled by these deaths and call on Bangladesh and the international community to do more to protect such writers."
New York based Human Rights Watch in a statement issued on Wednesday said killing of secular blogger Ananta Bijoy Das in Sylhet is part of an alarming trend of violent intolerance toward freedom of religion and speech in Bangladesh.
"This pattern of vicious attacks on secular and atheist writers not only silences the victims but also sends a chilling message to all in Bangladesh who espouse independent views on religious issues," said Brad Adams, Asia director at HRW. "The Bangladesh government needs to act swiftly to bring to justice those responsible for these brutal attacks, and to make clear public statements that attacking freedom of religion and expression will not be tolerated."
The Human Rights Watch also called on the Bangladeshi government to extend police protection to all those who appear on so-called atheist blogger hit-lists allegedly drawn up by militant Islamist groups. According to media reports, friends and family of Das and Roy both reportedly received threats and warnings prior to their murders, and had been told by those who threatened them that they were on these hit-lists.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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