Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the cold-blooded murder of a Bangladeshi reporter as he was covering drug-trafficking across Bangladesh’s eastern border with India. The police must ensure respect for the law by bringing the suspects to trial, RSF said.
Mohiuddin Sarker Nayeem, a reporter for the Dainik Cumillar Daklocal newspaper, was gunned down at around 11 p.m. on 13 April, just a few metres from a border crossing in Burichang, Chittagong division. Bangladeshi border guards who heard the shots rushed him to a nearby hospital but a doctor pronounced him dead on arrival.
The police said drug traffickers shot Nayeem after luring him into a trap with promises to show him how drugs were smuggled into Bangladesh from the neighbouring Indian state of Tripura. Alamgir Hossain, an officer at the Burichang police station, said the traffickers regarded Nayeem as a threat.
Nayeem, who previously worked for privately-owned Ananda TV, knew the border area well because he was from Brahmanpara, a village 9 km north of Burichang.
“This was a horrific murder,” said Daniel Bastard, the head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk. “This year again, Bangladesh is one of those countries where journalists must risk death to practice their profession. To properly address this issue, the district authorities must ensure that those responsible for this heinous murder are brought to trial and convicted, taking into account the aggravating factor of premeditation.”
Nayeem’s mother, Nazma Akter, filed a “First Information Report” report yesterday with the police in which she named three possible perpetrators. Today, the police arrested four people on suspicion of being involved in his murder.
Bangladesh is ranked 152nd out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2021 World Press Freedom Index.