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Bangladesh 4 March 2002

A journalist killed in Khulna

In a letter sent to the Minister of the Interior, Altaf Hossain Chowdhury, Reporters sans frontières (Reporters Without Borders - RSF) expressed its indignation after the murder of Sheikh Harun-ur-Rashid, correspondent with the daily Dainik Purbanchal in Khulna (south-east of the country). "The impunity of those who attack the press in this region, and those who order these attacks, encourages this constant violence," said Robert Ménard, General Secretary of RSF. Mr. Ménard also asked the Minister of the Interior to open a "serious and thorough" investigation to establish the motives for this murder, identify the perpetrators and sanction them.

According to information obtained by RSF, Harun-ur-Rashid, journalist with the local daily Dainik Purbanchal, was killed on 2 March 2002 as he was riding his motorcycle to the newspaper’s offices in Khulna (south of Dhaka). The 43-year old journalist was killed by gunshots on the road between Jessore and Khulna, about one kilometre from his home. His lungs were punctured by the gunshot wounds. Khulna police say they arrested three suspects.

An experienced journalist, Harun-ur-Rashid joined Dainik Purbanchal in the 1980s. He had investigated far-left groups and organized crime in the region. Threatened with death three times, he kept on writing articles about weapons and drug trafficking, involving the socialist Purba Bangla Sharbahara Party, at the Indo-Bangladeshi border. Authorities arrested him in 1987 according to the 1974 emergency law, but released him after his fellow-journalists intervened.

Harun-ur-Rashid is the second journalist killed in Khulna in the past two years. Since 1996, far-left activists have killed eight journalists in the south-west of Bangladesh, a region known for its extremist factions funded by organized crime groups.

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