Five charged with killing atheist blogger
Police in Bangladesh have charged five suspected Islamic extremists with the murder of atheist blogger Washiqur Rahman, 27, above, one of four secular writers hacked to death in the south Asian state this year.
Rahman, who wrote under a pen name on Facebook and repeatedly criticised religious conservatives, was killed near his home in the capital, Dhaka, in March.
Police, according to the Guardian, brought the charges – the first in any of the four murders this year – in a Dhaka magistrates court, which will now decide whether to open a trial or order further investigations.
Authorities in Bangladesh have been under international pressure to demonstrate their commitment to protect free speech in the poor but fast developing Muslim-majority country.
Police have been criticised for the slow pace of investigations into the killings.
Muntashirul Islam, a Dhaka police spokesman, told Agence France-Presse:
We’ve submitted a charge sheet against five people for the murder of blogger Washiqur Rahman. The five were charged with murder.
They include an organiser of the Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT) and four others who are its supporters.
He was referring to a banned local militant Islamist group, which police have blamed in all four murders.
The group has been linked to al-Qaida in South Asia, a local affiliate launched by the extremist organisation about a year ago.