By Abdulla Gaafarelkhalifa
On December 20, 2021, the US Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service, with its Rewards for Justice office, has offered a $5 million reward for information on the terrorist attack and murder of Avijit Roy, an Atheist blogger and naturalized American citizen, which took place nearly seven years ago in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
On February 26, 2015, Avijit Roy and his wife, Rafida Bonya Ahmed, visited Dhaka to attend a book fair. While departing the event they were attacked by a group of men, armed with machetes. The graphic attack left Roy dead, and his wife critically injured.
Two related groups have claimed responsibility for the attack; Ansarullah Bangla Team, an al-Qa’ida-inspired terrorist group based in Bangladesh, and Al-Qa’ida in the Indian Subcontinent.
The person who led the attack, former army major Syed Ziaul Haque, is still on the run. Another person on the run is Akram Hussain. Four others were charged and sentenced to death with one sentenced to life in prison.
Roy, an Engineer by profession, founded Mukto-Mona ("Free Mind"), a blog in 2000 to champion secular and humanist writing in Bangladesh.
Anwar Hossain, a friend and Dhaka University professor, reminisced about his friendship "He was a thinker, he was a man of great knowledge, he was a scientist, he was an engineer."
More information about the reward can be found at www.rewardsforjustice.net. Anyone with information on this incident should text RFJ via Signal, Telegram, or Whatsapp at +1 (202) 702-7843. All information will be “kept strictly confidential” according to a press release by the US Embassy in Bangladesh website.