Bangladesh has banned an Islamist militant group thought to be behind the brutal murders of three atheist bloggers, a government official has confirmed.
Government bans Islamist group behind murders of 3 atheist bloggers
The murders, which all took place earlier this year, have sparked international outrage and large protests in Bangladesh
"The [junior home minister] today signed a government order, outlawing the militant organisation Ansarullah Bangla Team," ministry spokesman Sharif Mahmud told AFP today.
The move follows a police call for the group to be banned after ABT were implicated in the killings, Christian Today reports.
The murders, which all took place earlier this year, have sparked international outrage and large protests in Bangladesh. Avijit Roy was the first to be killed; he moderated the Mukto-Mona website, which he described as "an Internet congregation of freethinkers, rationalists, sceptics, atheists, and humanists of mainly Bengali and South Asian descent." He also authored a number of books including The Philosophy of Disbelief and The Virus of Faith, and was outspoken against religious fundamentalism and extremism.
Roy had previously received several death threats from Islamist groups, and was eventually hacked to death by men with machetes and knives in Dhaka on 26 February. but his wife, Rafida Bonya Ahmed, lost several fingers in the incident, but survived.
She later called on the Bangladeshi government to bring the perpetrators to justice. "I do not believe that simply catching the killers will be enough.
I urge the government to address terrorism and stop a legal culture of impunity, where writers can be killed without the killers being brought to trial," Ahmed said in a statement. "I urge the world to recognize what has happened and join us in this demand for justice."
However, in March, 27-year-old blogger Ashiqur Rahman became the second secular blogger to be murdered, also in Dhaka.
Like Roy, he was hacked to death. A third blogger who wrote for Mukto-Mona, Ananda Bijoy Das, 32, was murdered by men with meat cleavers and machetes earlier this month.
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