Slain U.S. blogger's father unhappy over pace of Bangladesh investigation

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 17, 2015 11:03 AM

By Serajul Quadir

DHAKA (Reuters) - The father of a U.S. blogger who was killed by machete-armed attackers while on a visit to Bangladesh complained on Tuesday about the pace of the investigation as criticism over perceived police inaction grew.

Avijit Roy, an engineer of Bangladeshi origin, was slain after he and his wife visited a book fair last month. His wife, Rafida Bonya Ahmed, suffered head injuries and lost a finger. She later returned to the United States for treatment.

There has been a spate of assaults on secular bloggers in the Muslim-majority nation over the past few years. Media group Reporters Without Borders rated Bangladesh 146th among 180 countries in a ranking of press freedom last year.

"The progress of investigation is really very slow and I am concerned that the case may be buried without result, like many other cases related to such killings in Bangladesh," said Ajoy Roy, Avijit's father and also a secular writer and former professor at Dhaka University.

A senior police official denied the allegations and said the investigation was taking its own course.

Mohammad Masudur Rahman, deputy commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police, said they were weighing information obtained from a prime suspect who had since been turned over to police custody.

"The information we have confirmed that this was an act of extreme militants in the name of religion," Masudur told Reuters, but added: "It might take some time to draw a conclusion". An FBI team is now in the capital Dhaka to assist with the Bangladeshi police investigation.

The suspect, Farabi Shafiur Rahman, has denied killing Avijit but said that he was glad the blogger was attacked.

Rahman had previously been jailed for his ties to the extremist Hizbut Tahrir Islamist group.L4N0W4319

Bangladeshi Law Commission Chairman and former chief justice ABM Khairul Haque called for the national police chief to resign given that police officers who were near the scene of the attack on Avijit Roy had not intervened.

"It was their duty to rush to the scene and capture the criminals," Khairul told a citizens' rights function.

On Saturday, H.T. Imam, political adviser to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, asked the national police chief to identify the "black sheep" officers who failed to act on Avijit's behalf. [L4N0WG081]

(Editing by Mark Heinrich)