On Sunday, a Bangladeshi court indicted eight men, all part of a radical Islamic terrorist organization, for the murder of Faisal Abedin Deepan (below, also spelling “Dipon” or “Dipan” in some accounts).
Deepan, the former head of the Jagriti Prakashani publishing house, had put out the works of Dr. Avijit Roy, an atheist author who was hacked to death in February of 2015. (Earlier this year, six men were charged with his assassination.) The 43-year-old publisher was found dead in his office by his own father, who told reporters “I saw him lying upside down and in a massive pool of blood. They slaughtered his neck. He is dead.”
The attack on Deepan’s life occurred in October of 2015 by members of the group Ansar al Islam. Another publisher of Roy’s books was also attacked that day, but he thankfully survived. It’s suspected that the same group went after both publishers.
Anti-Terrorism Special Tribunal Judge Majibur Rahman read out the charges to six of the suspects, who pleaded not guilty. Another two, including a sacked military official, remained fugitives, but the judge issued arrest warrants for them.
As we’ve said before, it’s appalling that it took this long for police to get to the bottom of this murder, and equally upsetting that it may have been the incredible amount of global outrage that spurred them to even give a damn.
Still, after a wave of attacks on atheists and their allies in Bangladesh, it appears that their assailants are finally being held to account.
Blasphemy, as they say, is a victimless crime. But in Bangladesh, those accused of blaspheming have been victims of unspeakable horrors. The government often made the problem worse by suggesting that criticizing religion was an actual problem. It’s about time the police treated the attackers the way they used to treat their victims.