US Considers Granting Refuge to Bloggers After Bangladesh Slaying

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The US has condemned the “barbaric murder” of a law student who was killed in Bangladesh for speaking out against violent Islamist extremism and said it is considering granting refuge to a select number of bloggers who are under “imminent danger” in the country.

Nazimuddin Samad, 28, a masters student of the state-run Jagannath University’s law department who posted comments against radical Islamists on Facebook, was killed by suspected militants in Dhaka’s Sutrapur area on Wednesday night.

“We offer our condolences to Nazimuddin Samad’s family and our unwavering support to the Bangladeshi people in their struggle against violent extremism,” State Department Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner said.

Toner said humanitarian parole to “a select number of bloggers who continue to be under imminent danger” is one option under consideration but referred to Homeland Security Department for further details.

There have been systematic assaults in Bangladesh over the past six months specially targeting minorities, secular bloggers and foreigners.

Last month, a 65-year-old Christian convert was hacked to death in the northern Bangladeshi town of Kurigram by three motorbike-borne unidentified assailants.

Last year, four prominent secular bloggers were killed with machetes, one inside his own home.

“Nazimuddin knew and Bangladesh’s history has shown that violence will not defeat the country’s proud tradition of free and independent discourse. So we stand with the Bangladeshi people in rejecting this vicious act, and uniting to preserve a tolerant and inclusive society that protects freedom of expression,” Toner said.

“The United States will continue to support the government of Bangladesh in its efforts to combat terrorism, counter violent extremism, and bring to justice those who commit such heinous acts,” Toner said.

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