Nazimuddin Samad. Credit: Samad/Facebook
CJFE is saddened and outraged by the brutal murder of Bangladeshi secular blogger Nazimuddin Samad on April 6, 2016. Samad, a 26-year old law student at Jagannath University in Dhaka, was reportedly walking home with a friend when he was intercepted by three assailants on a motorcycle, who attacked him with machetes before shooting him. The killers then fled while shouting “Allahu Akbar,” according to the Dhaka Tribune. No one has yet claimed responsibility for the murder.
Samad was an atheist who wrote frequently about secularism and criticized Islamist extremism on his Facebook page. He was a supporter of the secular Awami League party. In a post the day before his murder, Samad reportedly expressed concern over the country’s deteriorating law and order, calling it a “public disgrace.”
Samad’s murder is the first such attack in 2016, following the 2015 killings of fellow bloggers Niloy Neel , Avijit Roy, Washiqur Rahman and Ananta Bijoy Das, and publisher Faisal Arefin Dipan. All six spoke out against religious extremism, and had repeatedly received death threats for their work. Prior to their murders, Neel, Roy, Rahman and Das were also named on a “hit list” of 84 bloggers drafted by Ansar al-Islam, inciting followers to murder all atheist bloggers.
CJFE strongly urges authorities in Bangladesh to fully investigate Samad’s murder, identify the perpetrators and quickly bring them to justice. The Bangladeshi government must do more to protect its own people, writers and human rights defenders, and take meaningful action when threats are reported. Freedom of religion, thought and speech, along with the principal of secularism, are all guaranteed in the Constitution of Bangladesh and critical to maintaining a democratic society. These universal human rights require a forceful, public defense from the Bangladesh government. The culture of impunity must end immediately.
This letter of concern was sent to:
His Excellency Kamrul Ahsan, High Commissioner for Bangladesh in Canada
Cc: Mr. Benoît-Pierre Laramée, High Commissioner of Canada to Bangladesh;
The Honourable Stéphane Dion, P.C., M.P., Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs