Skip to main content

World Bangladeshis arrest suspect in killing of American atheist blogger

Members of Bangladesh’s Rapid Action Battalion force escort Farabi Shafiur Rahman, middle, a suspect in the murder of an American blogger Avijit Roy, in Dhaka on March 2, 2015.

SUVRA KANTI DAS/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Bangladeshi security officials arrested a suspect Monday in the killing of an American writer who was a prominent critic of extremist Islam and was hacked to death last week as he walked with his wife in Dhaka, a government spokesman said.

The arrest of Farabi Shafiur Rahman came four days after attackers wielding meat cleavers killed Avijit Roy, an outspoken atheist and critic of the intertwining of religion and politics, on a crowded sidewalk in the capital, said Mufti Mahmud Khan, a spokesman for the anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion.

Roy, a Bangladesh-born engineer with American citizenship, was killed on a visit from Georgia in the United States to attend Dhaka's main book fair. He and his wife, Rafida Ahmed, were attacked after leaving the fair. Ahmed was seriously injured.

Story continues below advertisement

Rahman, a Muslim blogger who denounced atheism, had threatened Roy in Facebook postings, Khan said, quoting him as writing: "Avijit Roy lives in America, so it's not possible to kill him right now. But he will be killed when he comes back."

Rahman had been arrested previously for threatening an imam who performed funeral prayers for another atheist Bangladeshi blogger killed in 2013. He was released on bail after six months in jail.

While Rahman acknowledged making the threats, Khan said, authorities refused to say if they believed he was one of the attackers.

"He has admitted that he threatened Avijit but we are not sharing more information with you for the sake of the investigation. We need to ask him more," Khan said.

The Bangladesh government has accepted a U.S. offer of FBI help in the investigation of the killing, according to Foreign Minister A.H. Mahmood Ali.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter