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Case will test Bangladesh and its commitment to justice for bloggers

Shilpi, a cousin of late Bangladeshi blogger Washiqur Rahman Babu, wails outside a morgue at the Dhaka Medical College, 30 March 2015
Shilpi, a cousin of late Bangladeshi blogger Washiqur Rahman Babu, wails outside a morgue at the Dhaka Medical College, 30 March 2015

AP Photo/ A.M. Ahad

Excerpt of a 2 September 2015 CPJ Blog post by By Sumit Galhotra/CPJ Asia Program Research Associate

Murder charges filed this week against five suspected Islamist militants in the killing of a Bangladesh blogger give the government a chance to prove it's serious about protecting the nation's bloggers. The formal charges, filed in connection with the March killing of Washiqur Rahman Babu, mark the first time charges have been brought in any of the four blogger slayings so far this year, according to news reports.

Police have also made several arrests in the past few weeks in connection with the other three murders. While critics remain unconvinced that the government is committed to delivering justice in these cases, Babu's case presents an unusual opportunity for government officials to take a stand.

Why? Because the attackers were caught red-handed by members of a minority transgender community known as hijras, who tackled them when they tried to flee the scene of the murder and later handed them over to the police. There is, of course, a long road from the formal charges filed this week to credible convictions in a court of law. A Dhaka court will now have to decide whether to take this case to trial or order further investigation. And many bloggers remain skeptical.

Read the full blog post on CPJ's site.

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