Third blogger hacked to death in Bangladesh this year

New York, May 12, 2015–Four unidentified assailants wielding cleavers and machetes killed a blogger in Bangladesh today, marking the third time in less than three months that a blogger has been slain in the country, according to news reports. Ananta Bijoy Das was hacked to death while headed to work in the city of Sylhet, the reports said.

“The government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina must take urgent steps to ensure the security of critical bloggers in Bangladesh given this series of murders,” said CPJ Asia Program Research Associate Sumit Galhotra. “Authorities can show their commitment to curbing this violent trend by finding Ananta Bijoy Das’s killers and bringing them to justice.”

Das, who had mainly written on science, had also been critical of religious fundamentalism and previous attacks on secular thinkers, CNN reported. He had contributed to the blog Mukto Mona–the blog founded by Bangladeshi blogger Avijit Roy, who was killed earlier this year–and was also the editor of a scientific magazine named Jukti (Reason), the reports said. He had also written numerous books, one on evolution.

Police said they were investigating the murder. No arrests have been made, news reports said.

In March, assailants publicly hacked to death blogger Washiqur Rahman Babu, and in February Roy and his wife, Rafida Ahmed Bonna, were attacked by assailants wielding sharp weapons while the couple was visiting Dhaka, according to news reports. Roy, a U.S. citizen of Bangladeshi origin, was killed and his wife was critically injured. While arrests have been made in the cases, no one has been convicted to date. Earlier this month, an Al-Qaeda branch claimed responsibility for the attack on Roy and his wife as well as for the 2013 murder of blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider in a video posted online, according to reports. The video also urged followers to carry out other such attacks against other “blasphemers.”