Bangladesh bans Islamist group in blogger attacks

Bangladesh on May 25 banned an Islamist militant group suspected of involvement in the murders of atheist bloggers that sparked protests in Dhaka earlier this year. The Home Ministry's move to outlaw the Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT) comes after police asked the government to ban the group. Police have also charged ABT followers with the 2013 murder of blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider. ABT is the sixth Islamist militant group to be banned in the country, which has seen a rise in militant attacks in recent years. The msot recent slaying of a blogger, which took place two weeks ago in Sylhet city, was claimed on Twitter in the name of al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS). AQIS previously claimed responsibility for the February slaying of  blogger Avijit Roy in Dhaka. An Islamist has been arrested in connection with his murder but not formally charged. (Channel NewsAsia, May 25)

Police also announced the arrest in Dhaka of two suspected ISIS followers who they said were planning to fight for the self-proclaimed Islamic State in Syria. One is said to be a local school teacher and is accused of recruiting students to fight for ISIS. (Jurist, May 25)

Anoter blogger hacked to death in Bangladesh

Attackers armed with machetes killed a blogger in Bangladesh on Aug. 7, the fourth such killing of an online critic of religious extremism in six months. Niloy Chatterjee, 40, an advocate of secularism, was killed in his flat in the capital Dhaka.

"We are speechless. He was demanding justice for the killing of other bloggers," said Imran Sarker, head of a network of activists and bloggers. "Who will be next for demanding justice for Niloy?" (Reuters, Aug. 7)

Bangladesh authorities arrest three in bloggers' murders

Bangladeshi authorities announced Aug. 18 the arrest of three individuals allegedly involved in the murder of two secular bloggers earlier this year. The suspects are Islamic extremists and part of a recently banned armed group called Ansarullah Bangla Team. Mufti Jasim Rahmani, the head of the group, is already serving a sentence in prison for killing another blogger in 2013. The other two individuals, Touhidur Rahman and Sadek Ali, are believed to have visited Rahmani in prison for instruction. (Jurist, Aug. 19)

Secular publisher hacked to death in Bangladesh

A publisher of secular books was hacked to death in Dhaka Oct. 31. The body of Faisal Abedin Deepan, of the Jagriti Prokashoni publishing house, was found inside his office, said senior police officer Shibly Noman. Deepan had filed a complaint with police after death threats on Facebook. In a separate attack, two other writers and a publisher were stabbed and shot in their publishing house. Publisher Ahmed Rahim Tutul was wounded along with two writers in the office of the Shudhdhoswar house. (AP)

Bangladesh: death sentence in 2013 blogger killing

A court in Bangladesh sentenced two men to death and six others to prison on Dec. 31 for murdering Ahmed Rajib Haider, an atheist blogger known by the name of Thaba Baba, in 2013. Those convicted included seven university students and Mufti Jasimuddin Rahmani, a leader of the outlawed Islamist Ansarullah Bangla Team. The students claim that Rahmani gave sermons urging his followers to kill all atheist bloggers to protect Islam. Haider's blog had focused on banning the Islamist Jamaat-e-Islami party that stands in opposition of Bangladesh's independence from Pakistan. The defendants plan to appeal. (Jurist)

Anoter blogger hacked to death in Bangladesh

A Bangladeshi law student who had expressed secular views online was killed in Dhaka when he was attacked in the street by assailants with machetes. Nazimuddin Samad, 28, was master's student at Jagannath University and an organizer of the Ganajagran Manch, a pro-secular activist group. He makes the sixth secularist writer or publisher to have been killed in Dhaka in the last 14 months. (BBC News, CNN)

Professor hacked to death in Bangladesh

Rajshahi University professor AFM Rezaul Karim Siddiquee, 58, was hacked to death near his residence in northwestern city of Rajshahi on Aoril 23. A motive was not immediately clear, but his death brings to five the number of writers and scholars killed in this manner in Bangladesh this year (and the seventh in the past 14 months). (