Butchered bloggers: UK Muslim arrested
Authorities in Bangladesh have arrested three men, including a British citizen – Touhidur Rahman, above – for their alleged involvement in the murders of two secular bloggers.
The arrests follow a recent warning by a senior Bangladeshi police officer that atheists should keep their opinions to themselves , and not hurt people’s religious feelings.
Inspector General of Police Shahidul Haque described attacks on religious beliefs as a “crime” :
According to laws if any one hurts one’s feelings, he will be punished by the law.
He pointed out that such an offender could be jailed for 14 years and said:
None should cross the limit.
He also people who felt that they had suffered hurt over words written by sceptics should seek help from police and file a case.
But he said the police did not support the murder of atheist commentators.
According to this report, the three men who were arrested this week are suspected members of the Ansarullah Bangla Team, a banned Islamic militant outfit. Bangladesh banned the group in May after police accused its members of threatening and killing bloggers and writers.
Major Maksudul Alam, a spokesman for the country’s Rapid Action Battalion, said that Touhidur Rahman — a British citizen of Bangladeshi origin — was the mastermind and financier of the attacks on bloggers Avijit Roy and Ananta Bijoy Das, who were killed earlier this year.
Mufti Mahmud Khan, the head of the battalion’s media wing, told reporters that while Rahman was the main planner of the killings, another suspect who was arrested, Sadek Ali, acted as a bridge to communicate with Mufti Jasim Rahmani, the alleged head of the militant group.
Rahmani, above, is currently in jail awaiting trial in the murder of another blogger, Ahmed Rajib Haider, in Dhaka in 2013. According to a 2013 YouTube video, Rahmani aims to:
Establish the right of Allah on earth.
He said the third suspect, 35-year-old Aminul Mollick, was a broker at a passport office and helped members of the militant group make fake passports so that they could travel abroad if necessary.
Khan said Rahman, 58, is an information technology expert who returned to Bangladesh from the UK in either 2011 or 2012. He then got in touch with Rahmani, who inspired him to work for the group.
He is the main planner of all the recent killings of the bloggers.
During an interrogation after their arrests, Khan said, the men admitted that a team of four or five took part in the killing of Roy, a Bangladesh-born US citizen. The same team was involved in the attack on Das.
Roy was a prominent voice against religious extremism and created a network of atheist bloggers at home and abroad. His wife, also a blogger, was injured in the attack, which took place as the couple walked on the campus of Dhaka University.
Hat tip: Trevor Blake & Ivan Bailey