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Representatives Honda, Royce, Engel, Meng, Chabot, and Bera Urge State Department to Act on Murder of U.S. Citizen in Bangladesh

Representatives Honda, Royce, Engel, Meng, Chabot, and Bera Urge State Department to Act on Murder of U.S. Citizen in Bangladesh

Letter Requests Coordination with Bangladesh’s Government to Seek Justice

WASHINGTON, DC—A bipartisan collection of House Representatives, led by Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA17), today sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry asking him to work with the Bangladeshi government to see that the murderers of American citizen Dr. Avijit Roy are “brought to justice.”

In the letter, Representatives Mike Honda (D-CA17), Ed Royce (R-CA), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Grace Meng (D-NY), Steve Chabot (R-OH), and Ami Bera (D-CA) say they are “deeply troubled by the brutal public murder of American writer Dr. Avijit Roy.” The letter calls the attack on Dr. Roy and his wife “representative of the disturbing, and growing, number of attacks around the world by religious fanatics against freedom of speech advocates.  The United States cannot allow extremists to operate with impunity.  We must stand strong for freedom of speech and freedom of thought.”

The letter continues,“The U.S. Embassy and Department of State must remain engaged, and work with Bangladesh’s government, to insist that Dr. Roy’s killers are brought to justice, and to ensure that threats to other secularists, and writers in Bangladesh are taken seriously.” The full text of the letter can be read here.

“We’re writing this letter to reiterate the United States’ commitment to combat extremism, stand strong for freedom of speech and freedom of thought, and seek justice under the rule of law.”  Congressman Honda said. “Bangladesh is an important economic, humanitarian, and strategic partner for the U.S. We must work with the Bangladeshi authorities to bring Dr. Roy’s murderers to justice and promote the ideals and freedoms Dr. Roy died for.  The people of Bangladesh, the United States, and the world should be free to engage in public discourse and expression without living in fear ofviolent extremism.”

“The brutal murder of Dr. Avijit Roy is yet another reminder of the threat posed by Islamist terrorists,” Congressman Royce, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said. “His killer must be found.  Bangladesh has long been an important partner in South Asia, so we expect that its government protects free speech, which Dr. Roy so bravely stood for.  The U.S. and Bangladesh must redouble efforts to combat the wave of extremism that endangers the region.”

“Avijit Roy was killed because free speech and free expression shine a light on thefalse and dangerous ideology of violent extremism.   We need to send a clear message: those who use murder to silence their critics will be heldaccountable,” said Rep. Engel. “I urge the Administration to work with our Bangladeshi partners to track down those responsible for Dr. Roy’s murder and bring them to justice.”

"It is deeply disturbing that an American was killed in Bangladesh in such a brutal and public manner,” Congressman Chabot said. “I urge the State Department to work with the government of Bangladesh to make certain that the responsible parties are brought to justice in a timely manner.”

“The United States and Bangladesh must work together to protect the fundamental right to freedom of speech that Dr. Avijit Roy embodied,” Congressman Bera said. “I urge the State Department and U.S. Embassy to act swiftly to bring justice to those responsible for Dr. Roy’s murder.”

This Saturday, a group of Bay Area Bangladeshi Americans will be holding a candlelight vigil in honor of Dr. Roy at 6:30p at Lake Elizabeth in Fremont, CA. Over three thousand Bangladeshi Americans have signed this petition demanding “justice for Dr. Avijit Roy’s Killing in Dhaka.”