PEN’s Free Expression Digest brings you a daily curated round-up of the most important free expression-related stories from around the web. Subscribe here. *This mailing list is currently in BETA as we work out the kinks. Please send your feedback and suggestions to pen.webintern@gmail.com

Secularist blogger brutally murdered in Bangladesh – the fourth one this year
Bangladeshi blogger Niloy Neel was hacked to death in his home in Dhaka by a gang armed with machetes. Known for his atheist views, Neel is the fourth secularist blogger who has been viciously murdered in Bangladesh this year. Neel had already filed a police report expressing fear for his life, but his complaints were ignored. BBC
 
Azerbaijani journalist Khadija Ismayilova’s trial begins in Baku *PEN Case List
Ismayilova’s trial began today, eight months after her initial arrest on spurious charges. Her imprisonment is widely viewed as a politically motivated attempt to silence her for her investigative work exposing government corruption. Journalists and Ismayilova’s own family were not allowed into the courtroom. RFE/RL
 
Rand Paul and Chris Christie get into shouting match over government surveillance at GOP debate
Paul, who has been vocal about ending the government’s sweeping collection of Americans’ communications records, said that Christie doesn’t understand the Fourth Amendment and the Bill of Rights. Christie invoked a need to keep Americans safe from terrorism, and decided to point out that he had hugged victims of 9/11. MOTHER JONES
 
Virginian court rules warrantless cell phone tracking violates fourth amendment
An appellate court in Richmond, Virginia ruled Wednesday that citizens do not give up their privacy rights just because their private information is held by a company. The decision is the strongest assertion of the Fourth Amendment rights of mobile phone users out of three appellate court decisions on the matter, setting up a likely Supreme Court hearing. THE INTERCEPT
 
Peru’s new data retention law gives police warrantless access to real-time and historical mobile phone geolocation data
Last week, the Peruvian President adopted a legislative decree that will grant the police warrantless access to real time user location data on a 24/7 basis. By stating that location data is excluded from guarantees in the Peruvian Constitution of the privacy of communications, the decree contradicts international human rights standards. TECHDIRT
 
Opinion: Mexico, where freedom of the press is being killed
Another murdered journalist. That’s four this year and over 80 in the last decade. But it’s not happening in a civil war or dictatorship; it’s happening in Mexico. That is unworthy of a democracy, says Uta Thofern. DEUTSCHE WELLE
 
Surge in mafia attacks on journalists in Italy
Journalists who write about organized crime in Italy are facing an alarming increase in acts of hostility against them, according to a report chronicling a sharp rise in attacks and incidents of intimidation in recent years. THE GUARDIAN
 
Man sentenced to 30 years of jail for insulting the Thai monarchy on Facebook
The long jail term was imposed under the country’s harsh lèse-majesté law (literally “injured majesty”), under which anyone convicted of insulting the monarchy faces up to 15 years in prison on each count. Critics say the law has been used as a weapon against enemies of the royalist elite and their allies and targets those opposed to the coup. AFP
 
Bahrain suspends the country’s only independent newspaper
According to a government statement, the Information Affairs Authority (IAA) has suspended Al Wasat newspaper due to a violation of the law and repeated articles which “affect” national unity and Bahrain’s relations with other countries. The law that was allegedly violated was not mentioned, nor were any particular articles. BIRD
 
South Sudanese rights activist urges government to respect press freedoms
South Sudan rights activists have called on the government to reverse its decision over the recent closing down of The Citizen Newspaper and Free Voice Radio in Juba. The two media houses were shut down on Wednesday by security agents following their coverage on political press conference in the national capital. THE SUDAN TRIBUNE