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US offers Bangladesh FBI help to probe murders of bloggers

PTI April 12, 2016 6:54 IST
PTI

Washington: The US has offered FBI's assistance to Bangladesh to collaborate in its investigations into a spate of murders involving secular bloggers, including the recent killing of a law student who posted comments against radical Islamists on Facebook.

"We've offered assistance to the Bangladeshi government, collaboration on the investigations, FBI assistance," said Mark Toner, State Department Deputy Spokesman.

He was responding to a question on killing of several secular bloggers in Bangladesh, some of whom have been claimed either by the ISIS or al Qaeda.

"We've seen reports in this most recent case that Al Qaeda was behind it. These are horrific attacks. We urge the Bangladeshi authorities to take them very seriously and to fully investigate these attacks and to support the families of the victims," Toner said.

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

28-year-old law student Nazimuddin Samad, was hacked by machete-wielding militants before being shot dead from close range last week.

Samad's death marked the sixth time a Bangladeshi writer of atheist material had been killed in 14 months.

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.

Given the threat being posed by terrorist outfits to these bloggers, the US in those circumstances is willing to consider requests for humanitarian parole, Toner said.

"There is no excuse for such barbaric attacks, which are a direct assault on freedom of expression. We stand with Bangladesh and those who reject these vicious acts, and work to support the right of all Bangladeshis to exercise freedom of expression," he said.

"We hope the Bangladeshi authorities will find and bring the perpetrators to justice," he added.