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Bangladesh LGBT editor hacked to death

Monday 25 April 2016, by siawi3



Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption Students have protested against the previous killing, which saw a university professor hacked to death on Saturday

A leading gay rights activist and editor at Bangladesh’s only LGBT magazine has been hacked to death, media reports and officials say.

Another person was also killed and one person injured when attackers entered an apartment in Dhaka, police said.

Julhas Mannan was an editor at LGBT magazine Roopbaan and previously worked at the US embassy, friends said.

The killing comes two days after a university teacher was hacked to death by suspected Islamist militants.

Since February last year suspected militants have killed several secular or atheist writers and members of religious minority groups.

Two foreigners - an Italian aid worker and a Japanese farmer - have also been killed.

Lurching from secularism to sectarian terror?

Who is behind the Bangladesh killings?

Saturday’s murder of Rezaul Karim Siddique and the shooting last year of Cesare Tavella and Kunio Hoshi have been claimed by so-called Islamic State (IS).

But the Bangladeshi government insists there is no IS presence in the country.

BBC Bengali Service editor Sabir Mustafa said staff at Roopbaan, which had not been condemned by the government and received some support from foreign embassies, had been careful to protect their identities but had not believed their lives were at risk.

Suspected extremists in Bangladesh are gaining a sense of security that they can carry out killings with impunity, he says.
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Authorities tightened security in Dhaka after the murder of two foreigners last autumn

Meanwhile Bangladesh’s best known blogger said he had received a death threat on Sunday.

Imran Sarker, who led major protests by secular activists in 2013 against Islamist leaders, said he had received a phone call warning that he would be killed "very soon".

Earlier this month, a Bangladeshi law student who had expressed secular views online died when he was hacked with machetes and then shot in Dhaka.

Last year, four prominent secular bloggers were also killed with machetes.

The four bloggers had all appeared on a list of 84 "atheist bloggers" drawn up by Islamic groups in 2013 and widely circulated.

There have also been attacks on members of religious minorities including Shia, Sufi and Ahmadi Muslims, Christians and Hindus.

Muslim-majority Bangladesh is officially secular but critics say the government has failed to properly address the attacks.