New York, April 7, 2016--Unidentified assailants attacked blogger Nazimuddin Samad with sharp weapons and then fatally shot him in Dhaka Wednesday night, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on the Bangladeshi government to determine the motive for the killing, and to take immediate steps to bring his attackers to justice
"Bloggers like Nazimuddin Samad are vital to ensuring a diversity of views. But one by one, extremists are silencing these voices, while the government looks on," said CPJ's Asia program senior research associate, Sumit Galhotra. "This climate of impunity threatens not only bloggers, but the very fabric of Bangladesh's democracy. The government should take immediate steps to apprehend Samad's murderers and safeguard vulnerable bloggers."
Samad, a law student, was walking home when at least three assailants killed him, then fled the scene. The 26-year-old blogger had written critically on the social media website Facebook about Islamism and the issue of whether the Bangladeshi constitution should include Islam as a state religion, according to reports. He was also affiliated with the Gonojagoron Moncho, an activist group that called for capital punishment for accused war criminals in the country. No arrests were immediately made, reports said.
Police, citing witnesses, told reporters that the assailants shouted "Allahu Akbar" (God is great) during the murder.
Islamist militants claimed responsibility for hacking to death at least four bloggers and one publisher in 2015, CPJ research shows. To date, authorities have not convicted anyone for those murders. A Dhaka court in December 2015 convicted eight people in connection with the 2013 murder of blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider.