03/02/2015, 00.00
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Bangladesh holds man over blogger Avijit Roy's murder

by Sumon Corraya
The suspect had been arrested previously for inciting attacks against writers and intellectuals. The murder victim, a US citizen of Bangladeshi origin, was hacked to death with a machete. Islamist extremists threatened publicly to kill him last year after the publication of his book 'Biswasher Virus,' Bengali for 'Virus of faith'.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) - Bangladeshi Security Forces arrested a man in connection with the murder of the writer and blogger Avijit Roy.

Founder of Mukto-Mona (Free-mind) blog, Roy was attacked on Thursday evening along with his wife as he returned home from a book fair.

Bangladeshi security officials took Farabi Shafiur Rahman into custody as he was leaving the city in Dhaka's Jatrabari area over the murder of writer and blogger Avijit Roy.

Avijit Roy, a US citizen originally from Bangladesh, was attacked and hacked to death with a machete by Muslim assailants. His wife Rafida Ahmed reported some minor wounds.

The next day, hundreds of people - including teachers, publishers and fellow writers - met near in Dhaka to protest his murder.

"The attack on Roy and his wife Rafida Ahmed is outrageous," said Imran H. Sarker, head of a Bangladeshi bloggers' association. "We strongly protest this attack and are deeply concerned about the safety of writers."

For some time, extremist Islamic groups have been calling for the execution of atheist bloggers and demanding new laws to fight those who criticise Islam.

In Bangladesh, prominent Islamist extremists threatened publicly to kill Roy last year after the publication of his book 'Biswasher Virus,' Bengali for 'Virus of faith'.

The blogger, who was an atheist, had glimpsed of the dangers he faced in a recent article for Free Inquiry, a magazine published by the US-based Council for Secular Humanism.

Discussing the subject of his book, Roy wrote in the magazine that the "virus of religion" had inspired the 11 September 2001 attacks on the United States and the January murderous attacks against the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine in Paris.

"Faith-based terrorisms are nothing but viruses - if allowed to spread, they will wreak havoc on society in epidemic proportions," Roy had stated.

Farabi had been previously arrested in 2013 for inciting attacks on social media after blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider was killed because his ideas were "contrary to Islam".

Farabi had also threatened an online bookshop, rokomari.com, to drop Roy's books from their site, Rapid Action Battalion's Additional Director General Col Ziaul Ahsan said.

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