Journalist dies of injuries sustained in bomb blast

New York, February 11, 2005—The Committee to Protect Journalists mourns the death of Bangladeshi journalist Sheikh Belaluddin, who died at around 10 a.m. today of injuries sustained in a bomb attack last week.

Belaluddin, a correspondent with the Bengali-language daily Sangram, was injured along with three other journalists on February 5, when a bomb exploded at a press club in the city of Khulna. The bomb, which was hidden in a bag hanging from a motorcycle, detonated at around 9:15 p.m. as Belaluddin approached the vehicle.

The other journalists’ injuries were not life-threatening, but Belaluddin was flown to the capital, Dhaka, for treatment.

On February 8, Khulna journalists observed a news blackout and formed a human chain at the press club to protest the bombing. Across the country, journalists took to the streets to condemn the attack, demanding that authorities find and punish those responsible.

The Associated Press reported that police have arrested eight suspects but gave no other details.

“This latest death underscores yet again the urgent need for Bangladeshi authorities to ensure journalists’ safety,” said CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper. “Those responsible for the bombing must be apprehended and prosecuted swiftly to send a clear message that violence against the media will not be tolerated.”

Targeted bomb attacks in Khulna accounted for two of the three journalists killed in Bangladesh in 2004. Manik Saha, a veteran journalist and correspondent for the daily New Age, was on his way home from Khulna Press Club in January 2004 when assailants threw a bomb at him. Humayun Kabir, who was president of Khulna Press Club, was killed at his home by a bomb attack in June 2004.