A Bangladeshi Muslim hate preacher, Jasim Uddin Rahmani, above, reportedly inspired a murderous attack blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider.
Two students were yesterday sentenced to death for Haider’s killing in in 2013, but mufti Rahmani, leader of the banned Islamist group Ansarullah Bangla Team, escaped with a five year prison sentence and a fine.
Five others, all students, students received jail sentences.
According to prosecutors, the students said that Rahmani incited them to kill Haider in sermons in which he said all atheist bloggers should be killed to protect Islam.
According to this report, the two North South University students who received the death sentences were Faisal bin Nayeem and Redwanul Azad Rana, who was tried in absentia.
The students targeted Rajib “for his blog posts under the nick of Thabababa” and carried out the murder in two separate groups.
Haider’s father rejected the verdicts, saying all the defendants deserved the death sentence. He said he would consult with his lawyer to decide whether to appeal.
On February 26 2015, Bangladesh-born US blogger and science writer Avijit Roy, 42, was attacked just yards away from a book fair in Dhaka while he died instantly.
A month later fellow blogger Washiqur Rahman, 27, was hacked to death in broad daylight near his home in Dhaka’s Tejgaon area where the people in the neighbourhood chased down two of the killers and handed them to police.
Subsequent victims were Ananta Bijoy Das, 33, a banker and a founder of a group called the Science and Rationalist Council; Niloy Chakrabarti, 40, who wrote online under the pen name Niloy Neel and publisher Faisal Arefin Dipan, 43, who published a bestselling book by Roy.
Many bloggers have gone into hiding, and some have left the country, as concerns have grown about an increasingly bloody divide between secular activists and conservative Islamist groups.