NEW YORK—The murder of Bangladeshi-American blogger Avijit Roy is a brutal attack on free expression, PEN American Center said today.

Roy’s blog, Mukto-Mona (Free Mind), promoted science and secularism, and he had received multiple death threats from religious extremists. Roy died in Dhaka on Friday of multiple machete wounds inflicted by yet unknown assailants.

“Avijit Roy was a free thinker whose blog served to share information and spark debate, core values of any open society,” said Suzanne Nossel, executive director of PEN American Center. “The government of Bangladesh must ensure that those who violate the right to free expression, and not those who exercise it, are held responsible to the fullest extent of the law. Roy’s murder must be investigated swiftly and thoroughly, and those responsible brought to justice.”

Roy is the second blogger to be fatally attacked in Bangladesh in recent years. Following the murder of Ahmed Rajib Haider in 2013, hardline Islamic groups have called publicly for the execution of “atheist” bloggers. According to The Guardian, the government of Bangladesh acquiesced by ramping up arrests of bloggers.

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Founded in 1922, PEN American Center is an association of 4,000 U.S. writers working to break down barriers to free expression worldwide.

CONTACT:
Sarah Edkins, Communications Manager: sedkins@pen.org, (646) 779.4830