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Bangladesh: UN experts condemn killing of blogger Niloy Neel

Bangladesh: UN experts condemn killing of blogger Niloy Neel, a strong critic of extremism

GENEVA (7 August 2015) – The United Nations Special Rapporteurs on freedom of expression, David Kaye, and on extrajudicial executions, Christof Heyns, have condemned today’s killing in Bangladesh of the blogger Niloy Neel, a supporter of free expression and opponent of fundamentalism of all kinds. Mr. Neel is the fourth Bangladeshi blogger hacked to death so far this year.

“The violent killing of another critical voice in Bangladesh shows that serious threats to freedom of expression persist in the country,” the experts said, calling for a prompt and thorough investigation. “It is vital to ensure the identification of those responsible for this and the previous horrendous crimes, as well as those who may have masterminded the attacks.”

“The organized targeting of critical voices aims at promoting a culture of silence and fear, and affects the society as a whole,” the Special Rapporteurs stressed.

“The Bangladeshi authorities must not only continue to strongly condemn these horrendous acts against freedom of expression, but should also ensure that their words are followed by more effective efforts to ensure greater accountability and prevent this kind of violence.”

In February this year, the blogger Avijit Roy was killed and his wife seriously injured in a similar attack. A month later, another blogger, Washiqur Rahman, was also killed in the Bangladeshi capital. In May, Ananta Bijoy Das, who wrote for a website promoting ‘science, rationalism, secularism, freethinking, human rights, religious tolerance, and harmony amongst all people in the globe,’ was also hacked to death.

The UN Special Rapporteurs reiterated their call on the Bangladeshi authorities to consider specific initiatives to prevent the recurrence of attacks against writers and activists. This should include not only the provision of particular physical protections to those who are potential targets for violence, but also open public debate challenging extremist views of all kinds.

ENDS


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