03 MARCH 2015
The Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) arrested Farabi Shafiur Rahman, prime suspect in the murder case of progressive blogger Avijit Roy, from the Jatrabari area of the city early yesterday (Monday).
This was disclosed by the RAB Legal and Media Wing Director, Commander Mufti Mahmud Khan, at a press briefing at the elite anti-crime force’s headquarters in
the city. Senior RAB officers, including RAB Additional Director (Operation) Colonel Ziaul Ahsan, RAB Legal and Media Wing Deputy Directors Major Rumman and Major Moksudul Alam, among others, were present at the briefing.
On being tipped off, a team of RAB-10 arrested Farabi while he was trying to escape to Chittagong, he added.
During preliminary interrogation, he admitted that he had uploaded several posts on the Internet threatening to kill Avijit, said the RAB officer.
While replying to a question whether Farabi himself admitted to his involvement in the killing of Avijit Roy, Commander Khan said: ‘‘No criminal at first admits his or her crime. The facts come to light only after grilling. We have got some important information, but for the sake of investigation, it cannot be shared with the media right now.”
About the latest activities of Farabi, the top RAB officer said: ‘‘Immediately after the killing of Avijit, a Facebook friend of Farabi sent him bloody pictures of Avijit and his wife Bonya and the sender asked him whether he had got the pictures.”
After getting the pictures, he said: ‘‘Yes, I’ve got the pictures.”
When the friend asked him about his reaction to Avijit’s murder, Farabi said: ‘‘I shall be arrested tomorrow or the day after.”
Retired Dhaka University professor Ajoy Roy, father of Avijit, in his statement mentioned the name of Farabi as he had threatened to kill his son several times.
Farabi became a Facebook friend of blogger Avijit five years ago, but Avijit blocked him from his Facebook friend list due to his anti-progressive comments.
Farabi claimed that he had no communication with Avijit for the last two years.
“Analysing his latest activities, we think he was directly involved in Avijit’s murder,” the RAB officer said.
But during a brief conversation with The Independent correspondent at the RAB headquarters when RAB personnel were picking up Farabi in a microbus to send him to police custody, Farabi himself said: ‘‘I knew Avijit would be killed. But I don’t know who killed him.” Quoting Farabi, a senior RAB official, said Avijit was “punished” for his sins. On January 25, 2014, Farabi said in his Facebook status: “It is a holy duty of Bangalee Muslims to kill Avijit.”
On February 9, 2014, he commented on a Facebook post: ‘‘Avijit Roy cannot be killed now. He lives in America.”
In 2013, Farabi was arrested for issuing death threats to an Imam for conducting the burial ceremony of slain blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider. But he secured bail from the High Court.
Rajib, an activist of the Shahbagh movement, was murdered near his house at Mirpur on February 15, 2013.
Avijit’s father, Ajay Roy, a retired professor of physics at Dhaka University, filed a murder case the day after the killing with Shahbagh Police Station accusing unknown assailants. Talking to media persons, he earlier said militants were responsible for his son’s murder.
It was alleged that Avijit had been threatened several times by the self-proclaimed Islamist blogger, Farabi. Farabi, son of the late Ferdusor Rahman, was born in 1986 at Kalaisripara village in Brahmanbaria Sadar upazila.
In 1996, he completed his primary education from the Railway Government Primary School and passed his Secondary School Certificate (SSC) exams from the Joyhori Sky Government High School in 2001. But due to some mental disease, his study was halted for two years.
In 2005, he passed his Higher Secondary School (HSC) certificate exams from the Notredam College in the city and in the 2005-2006 academic session, he got admitted to the Physics Department in Chittagong University.
Assistant Police Commissioner (AC) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP), Yasir Arafat, said: “RAB has handed over Farabi to us. He has been shown arrested in the Avijit murder case. He would be placed before the court, seeking ten days’ remand in police custody.
Unidentified assailants had hacked Avijit Roy (42) to death and seriously injured his wife, Rafida Ahmed Bonya, on the Dhaka University campus on Thursday night. He had been facing threats from Islamist radicals for his secular blogging.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday discussed the killing of Bangladeshi-American engineer and blogger Avijit Roy at the weekly Cabinet meeting, a minister told The Independent.
Discussing the incident during the Cabinet meeting, Sheikh Hasina informed her colleagues that there were similarities between the killings of noted writer Humayun Azad and Avijit.
The premier further asked the Home State Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal to issue an alert and take all necessary measures to avert any recurrence of such an incident in the country.
The ministers present there also advised the Home State Minister to start special drives across the three hill districts and in different parts of Chittagong to root out militant activities from there.After the Cabinet meeting, Kamal met Inspector General of Police Shahidul Haque at his Secretariat office where they reportedly discussed the ongoing law and order situation. The state minister is learnt to have given some directives to the police chief.
Talking to this correspondent, Kamal said that the IGP briefed him about the latest situation in the country while he was abroad for some time.
“We will not tolerate any kind of ‘evil activities’ in the country. So, we have already asked the law enforcement agencies to take necessary steps to tackle the situation accordingly,” he said.
About the Avijit murder case, the state minister said that the law enforcement agencies are investigating the matter and they have already arrested a prime suspect in this connection.