US considers refuge for Bangladeshi bloggers after series of killings

  • PTI, Washington
  • Updated: Apr 08, 2016 15:11 IST
Samad’s murder is the latest in a series of attacks on secular activists and bloggers in Bangladesh. (Photo Courtesy: Samad’s Facebook Page)

The US said it is considering granting refuge to bloggers who are under “imminent danger” in Bangladesh following a series of killings of secular writers and activists in the country.

State Department deputy spokesperson Mark Toner said humanitarian parole to “a select number of bloggers who continue to be under imminent danger” is one option under consideration but referred to Homeland Security Department for further details.

The remarks by the US official come following the “barbaric murder” of a law student who was killed in Bangladesh on Wednesday night for speaking out against Islamist extremism.

Nazimuddin Samad, 28, a masters student of the state-run Jagannath University’s law department who posted comments against radical Islamists on Facebook, was killed by suspected militants in Dhaka’s Sutrapur area.

Toner condemned the attack and expressed support to Bangladesh.

“We offer our condolences to Nazimuddin Samad’s family and our unwavering support to the Bangladeshi people in their struggle against violent extremism,” Toner said.

There have been systematic assaults in Bangladesh over the past six months specially targeting minorities, secular bloggers and foreigners.

Last month, a 65-year-old Christian convert was hacked to death in the northern Bangladeshi town of Kurigram by three motorbike-borne unidentified assailants.

Last year, four prominent secular bloggers were killed with machetes, one inside his own home.

“Nazimuddin knew and Bangladesh’s history has shown that violence will not defeat the country’s proud tradition of free and independent discourse. So we stand with the Bangladeshi people in rejecting this vicious act, and uniting to preserve a tolerant and inclusive society that protects freedom of expression,” Toner said.

“The United States will continue to support the government of Bangladesh in its efforts to combat terrorism, counter violent extremism, and bring to justice those who commit such heinous acts,” Toner said.

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