NOVEMBER 17. 2005
Updated: November 29, 2005

Gautam Das, Samakal


Das, a reporter for the Dhaka-based daily Samakal was found strangled to death in his bureau office in the town of Faridpur, 40 miles (64 kilometers) west of the Bangladeshi capital, according to news reports.

A colleague called police after repeated telephone calls to Das went unanswered and the door of the Samakal bureau in Faridpur remained locked at midday, according to the local advocacy group Media Watch. At 2 p.m., police broke down the door of the office to find Das’ body inside, with fractures to the legs and hand and nylon rope around his neck, according to a statement by the group.

Although colleagues were not aware of any specific threat against the reporter, they said that Das had recently written about sensitive topics such as the activities of Islamic militant groups, according to Media Watch. Sumi Khan, a reporter for Samakal, said that Das was known for his reporting on crime and corruption, including coverage of illegal activities by members of the ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party. The Associated Press reported that Das had recently written about local government officials accused of taking bribes in exchange for construction contract awards.

Two days later, journalist groups around the country protested the killing and criticized the government for not doing more to protect the press.

On November 19, police arrested Tamjid Hossain Babu, the son of a local MP, in connection with Das’ murder, according to The Daily Star. Local journalists said police arrested three other suspects.