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Amnesty condemns killing of blogger Nazimuddin Samad

31Ansar Ahmed Ullah :

The vicious killing of another secular activist in Bangladesh is a grave reminder that the authorities

are failing to protect people exercising their right to freedom of expression, Amnesty International said

in a statement issued on 7 April.

Four masked men attacked Nazimuddin Samad, 28, with a machete in Dhaka late night on Wed 6

April before shooting him dead. No one has claimed responsibility, but the killing fits the pattern of

other similar attacks on secular activists by Islamist groups over the past year.

Champa Patel, South Asia Director from Amnesty International said, “There can be no justification for

the brutal killing of Nazimuddin Samad, who has apparently paid with his life for nothing but being

brave enough to speak his mind. This is not just a senseless murder, it is a blatant attack on the right

to freedom of expression,”

Nazimuddin Samad was a student activist who had organised campaigns for secularism on social

media. He was named on a “hit list” of 84 bloggers published by a group of Islamists in 2013.

In 2015, at least five people – four bloggers and one publisher – were killed because of their secular

opinions and writings. No one has yet been held to account for these killings and the Bangladeshi

authorities have failed to strongly condemn the attacks. Instead, they have instructed secular activists

to stop “offending” religious sentiments through their writings. Dozens of other bloggers have been

forced into hiding or exile, fearing for their lives.

“Bangladeshi authorities must categorically condemn these killings and take serious steps to end this

horrific cycle of violence. Those responsible for the killings of secular activists must be held to

account, anything less will send a signal that these attacks are tolerated and permitted by the

government,” said Champa Patel.

“The authorities must also ensure that those activists and writers who are under threat are effectively

protected in accordance with their wishes.”