Posted by Justin on 09 May 2013 / 0 Comment
Trigger warning: Graphic pictures of victims of violent attacks and stabbings.
While the world’s media counts the toll of those who died in the Savar tragedy (at time of writing it reached 940), the notion of freedom of speech has been severely under attack by Bangladesh’s Awami League led Government and others. Last month in April, Hefajat-e Islam, an Islamist protest organisation which campaigns against equal rights for women and against secular education, attempted to shut down the capital Dhaka due to “atheist bloggers” insulting Islam. Hefajat were demanding that the government institutes a new blasphemy law which would make anyone who insults Islam face the death penalty. Some Islamists decided not to wait for legal changes and at least four atheist bloggers have been targeted to be killed. One of them is Asif Mohiuddin who called himself “Militant Atheist Blogger”, in January he was brutally stabbed after the police asked him to stop writing on his blog. This was the latest in a series of attempted and successful murders of atheist and secular proponents in Bangladesh.
Mohiuddin recovered from his horrific injuries pictured below, and continued to blog his views which led him to be subsequently jailed. On 2nd and 3rd of April, the police arrested Asif Mohiuddin and three other bloggers, Subrata Adhikari Shuvo, Mashiur Rahman Biplob and Rasel Parvez using a law regarding “hurting religious sentiments” written in 1860. They had all written blog posts criticising the ruling Government’s attempts to appease Hefajat-e Islam. Just over a week later on the 11th April, the police arrested Mahmdur Rahman, a newspaper editor of an opposition paper for his part in an international controversy which revealed a Skype chat between the government and officials in the “International Crime Tribunal”.
Asif shortly after his attack