In January, 29 year old blogger Asif Mohiuddin was stabbed. In February, 35 year old atheist blogger involved in the Shahbag protests, Ahmed Rajib, was brutally killed. Islamists continue to threaten prominent bloggers and have called for the “execution of 84 atheist bloggers for insulting religion”.
Rather than defend freedom of expression and protect freethinkers, the Bangladeshi government has arrested several bloggers, promised to pursue others, and shut down websites and blogs.
We, the undersigned, call for 25 April to be an international day to defend Bangladesh’s bloggers and activists. On this day, we urge groups and individuals to rally at Bangladeshi embassies, contact members of parliament in their countries of residence, highlight the situation, write protest letters, carry out acts of solidarity, Tweet #Bangladesh #Bloggers, and sign this petition.
We unequivocally condemn the attacks on and threats against atheist, secularist and freethinking bloggers and call on the Bangladeshi government to guarantee their safety, respect free expression and prosecute Islamists who threaten, attack and harm critics.
Freedom of expression, including to criticise Islam and Islamism as well as to blaspheme, is a basic right.
Signed (organisations mentioned also endorse the day of action):
Aisha Gill, Academic
Amanda Brown, Founder, We are Atheism
Amanda Sebestyen, Writer
Andrew Copson, Chief Executive, British Humanist Association
Anissa Helie, Algerian/French Activist
Anna Bergström, Board Member, Swedish Humanist Association
Annie Sugier, President, Ligue du Droit International des Femmes
Arifur Rahman, Bangladeshi Blogger
Avijit Roy, Bangladeshi Blogger