Killers of Popular Blogger Escape in Police Ambush

2 men who murdered Avijit Roy were on their way to court in Bangladesh
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 21, 2022 11:12 AM CST
Killers of Popular Blogger Escape in Police Ambush
In this 2015 file photo, a portrait of Bangladeshi American blogger Avijit Roy is seen during a protest in Dhaka, Bangladesh, against his killing.   (AP Photo/AM Ahad, File)

Two of the men who murdered a popular Bangladeshi American blogger are on the lam after a police ambush in broad daylight. The fugitives, already convicted in the 2015 murder of Avijit Roy, were being taken to court for a hearing on Sunday when multiple motorcycles disrupted their police escort outside a courthouse in Dhaka, Bangladesh, reports the Guardian. The assailants sprayed something in the faces of officers, then whisked the convicts away.

The fugitives are identified as Moinul Hasan Shamim and Abu Siddiq Sohel, and they belong to an extremist group called Ansarullah Bangla Team, which translates to "Helpers of Allah" in Bengali, per the New York Times. Members of the group hacked Roy to death on the streets of Dhaka and severely injured his wife. Before his death, Roy had written frequently about the dangers of religious extremism, notes Reuters. Later that year, his publisher, Faisal Arefin Dipan, also was murdered.

"The violence sent a chilling message to secular writers and publishers in Bangladesh, where a bitter cultural battle has raged over whether the country is, or should be, a Muslim state," per the Times. The two escapees were among five men who were put on death row for Roy's murder. Bangladesh's home minister says an investigation is underway into how the escape happened. One aspect of that: The fugitives were handcuffed, but their legs weren't shackled, as is usually the case. (More Bangladesh stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.