Dhaka (AsiaNews) – A Dhaka court has handed down two death sentences and six prison terms in the first ever trial against the killers of an "atheist" blogger in Bangladesh. A special court issued the quickly reached verdict for those responsible for the murder of Ahmed Rajib Haider, who was killed in 2013 and was the first in a long list of victims of Islamic fundamentalism, a list that continues to grow.
Foysal Bin Nayeem and Rezanur Azad Rana, students sentenced to death and forced to pay 10 thousand taka (about 116 Euros). Rana is still at large. Maksudul Hassan Anik, who was also responsible for the killing of blogger, was sentenced to life imprisonment and to pay a fine. Ahsanur Reza Rumman, Nafis Imtiaz and Nayeem Shikdar Irad have received five years in prison and a fine of 5 thousand taka.
These are the first convictions for the killers of a blogger. The court's decision to spare the mastermind of the attack has however sparked protests by civil society and the victim's family. The Muslim leader Jasimuddin Rahmani, is considered the instigator of five murders of bloggers and writers was sentenced to only five years in prison.
Members of Ganajagaran Mancha, movement for bloggers rights, have denounced the punishment as "lenient", taking to the streets in Dhaka and staging a protest. Imran Sarker, a demonstrator, said: "In any trial, the instigators receive the highest penalty. But this man [Rahmani ed] has only been given five years in prison. And one of the two condemned men has yet to be arrested. This is not at all the verdict that people expected. We reject it".
Nazim Uddin, father murdered man, wonders how "confessed murderers" can get away with it and not be put to death. The man announced that he will appeal to the High Court against a verdict he considers "faulty and inconsistant".
The situation is becoming riskier for those who do not share the ideology of Islam. For some time, Muslim extremists have been targeting free thinkers and democracy activists, justifying their killing by calling their victims "atheists".
Ahmed Rajib Haider was the first blogger to be killed for his “anti-Islam" ideas in 2013. So far this year, four other bloggers have lost their lives.
In February Avijt Roy was murdered near the University Dhaka; in late March, also in the capital, Muslim fundamentalists hacked to death Oyasiqur Rahman; two months later, it was the turn of Ananta Bijoy Das, who was murdered in Sylhet; and finally, Niloy Chakrabarti was killed, execution style, in August in broad daylight, under the eyes of his mother and sister. On October 31, progressive publisher Faisal Arefin Dipan was stabbed to death.