Bangladesh authorities must investigate the killing of journalist Golam Rabbani Nadim and bring those responsible to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Friday.
At around 10 p.m. on Wednesday, June 14, a group of men ambushed Nadim, a correspondent for privately owned website Banglanews24 and broadcaster Ekattor TV, while he was traveling home on his motorcycle in the Bakshiganj area in the Jamalpur district of northern Mymensingh division, according to news reports, security footage of the incident published by Ekattor TV, and a witness account by Al Mujahid Babu, a journalist present at the scene.
A group of 15 to 20 men dragged Nadim to a dark alley, where they severely beat him and left him unconscious before he was taken to the hospital by bystanders. The journalist died the next day from excessive blood loss caused by a severe head injury.
Nadim’s family believes he was targeted in retaliation for his May 2023 series of reports for Banglanews24 about Mahmudul Alam Babu, chair of a local government unit and member of the ruling Awami League party, according to those reports. Mahmudul Alam Babu denied any involvement in the attack.
Sohel Rana, officer-in-charge of the Bakshiganj police station, said six people had been arrested in connection with the attack, Prothom Alo reported Friday.
“We condemn the killing of Bangladeshi journalist Golam Rabbani Nadim in apparent retaliation for his reporting on a local politician,” said Beh Lih Yi, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “Bangladesh authorities must ensure that all those involved in this attack are brought to justice and end the country’s appalling record of impunity pertaining to violence against journalists.”
Al Mujahid Babu said in his witness account that Mahmudul Alam Babu was at the scene and directing the attackers from a distance. CPJ’s calls to Mahmudul Alam Babu, who was reported to be in hiding as of Friday evening, did not connect. CPJ’s text message to Mahmudul Alam Babu did not immediately receive a response.
Nadim’s May articles concerned issues in Mahmudul Alam Babu’s marriage, including a press conference by a woman who alleged the politician secretly married her, then abused and divorced her. Nadim also posted about the allegations on Facebook.
In mid-May, Mahmudul Alam Babu filed a complaint against Nadim under the Digital Security Act for that reporting. Hours before the attack, Nadim posted on Facebook that a court had dismissed the case.
The Rapid Action Battalion, a paramilitary unit of the Bangladesh police, has joined the probe into Nadim’s death. CPJ’s calls and messages to Rana and Khandaker Al Moyeen, director of the legal and media wing of the Rapid Action Battalion, did not immediately receive a reply.
Local press groups, the Bangladeshi Journalists in International Media and the Bakshiganj Press Club, both condemned the killing, saying Nadim, who was also vice president of the Jamalpur District Online Journalists Association, was targeted due to his reporting.
Al Mujaheed Babu told CPJ via messaging app, and Raju, Nadim’s brother-in-law, told CPJ by phone separately that they were unable to immediately comment.