Bangladeshi reporter found strangled to death

New York, November 17, 2005—A reporter for the Dhaka-based daily Samakal was found strangled to death in his bureau office today, according to news reports. Journalists in the town of Faridpur, 40 miles (64 kilometers) west of the Bangladeshi capital, have launched protests demanding that authorities find and prosecute the killer of Gautam Das.

The Committee to Protect Journalists is investigating to determine whether he was killed in connection with his journalism.

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.

Colleagues were not aware of any threats against the reporter, but said that Das had recently written about the activities of Islamic militant groups, according to Media Watch. Police are investigating possible motives, including Das’ work as a journalist, according to The Associated Press.

Journalists in Faridpur staged protests today to call for justice in the killing. The police superintendent joined the rally and promised a thorough investigation, according to Media Watch.

In May, CPJ named Bangladesh one of the world’s most murderous countries for journalists. Nine journalists have been killed there since 2000, according to CPJ research.