New York, April 29, 2004—The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) condemns Tuesday’s vicious attack on Sumi Khan, a crime reporter with the newsmagazine Weekly 2000, who was knifed during an apparent kidnapping attempt in the southeastern port city of Chittagong.
Khan was on her way home on the evening of April 27 when three unidentified assailants in a rickshaw tried to forcibly take her with them, according to Khan. As she struggled against her attackers, they cut her forehead, mouth, and hands with a knife, and beat her arms and legs. Khan said that while they were attacking her, the assailants shouted at her, “You have gone too far. You are very daring, and you should not be.”
Khan then lost consciousness. People on the street came to her defense, but her assailants got away. Khan said that three policemen stood by while the attack took place.
Locals took her to a hospital. Khan, who was sent home after receiving stitches in her forehead, is still in great pain. Khan called police and filed a complaint against the three men. Although police promised to come to her home to follow up with her on the investigation, no officers had arrived two days later.
Chittagong is a city known for violent crime, kidnappings for ransom, and extortion. Khan said that she has been receiving threats for months because of her reporting on criminal figures.
In March, CPJ met Khan and other journalists from outside the capital during a mission to Bangladesh. CPJ has documented dozens of similar attacks on journalists in Bangladesh in retaliation for their reporting on crime and corruption.
“We abhor this violent attack on our friend and colleague Sumi Khan and call on authorities to apprehend those responsible,” said CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper. “Journalists deserve the full protection of the law and should not be subject to attack for doing their jobs.”
The Chittagong Union of Journalists has also protested the attack and called for the arrest of the assailants.