Reporters Without Borders condemns a violent knife attack by unidentified men on the outspoken blogger Asif Mohiuddin in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka on 14 January.
“Mohiuddin is known not only for his scathing comments about religion but also his criticism of Bangladesh’s social problems and there is good reason to think he was attacked because of the views he expresses in his reporting on sensitive political and social issues,” Reporters Without Borders said.
“The authorities must push ahead with their investigation so that those responsible for this attack can be identified and brought before a court.”
Aged 29, Mohiuddin was stabbed in the neck and back near his office in the Dhaka district of Uttara at around 10 pm. He is currently reported to be in a critical condition at Dhaka Medical College Hospital.
The information provided by the police clearly indicates that the attack was premeditated. "The attackers were lurking near his office,” local police chief Rezaul Islam told AFP. “He was attacked as he was about to enter the office. Passers-by rushed him to a hospital.”
Friends who were with him at the time said they thought the attackers were Islamist fundamentalists. In his blog entitled “Almighty only in name, but impotent in reality,” he has often expressed his scepticism about all religions and especially the teachings of Islam.
He has also often criticized the lack of freedom of expression in Bangladesh. When covering a student demonstration against a rise in university fees in September 2011, he was arrested and kept in police custody for 18 hours.
While held, he was shown a document from the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence saying there was a danger that his blog posts could stir up anti-government sentiment among young people.
When summoned to the headquarters of the Detective Branch of the Dhaka police on 1 October 2011, he was forced to provide the details of this blog and Facebook account and was told to stop posting online.
Violence against news providers is on the increase in Bangladesh. With four journalists killed in 2012, it is now the world’s sixth deadliest country for media personnel.