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Gay News : Publications : Issue 298 : Gay Activists Murdered in Bangladesh

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Gay Activists Murdered in Bangladesh

by our Editors in History & Politics , 16 juni 2016

In Bangladesh the gay activists Xulhaz Mannan and Tonoy Mojumdar were killed with chopping knives, most likely by Islamic activists, in their apartment in Dhaka. The five or six murderers accessed the apartment by pretending to be couriers delivering a package. One of the guards of the apartment was injured and admitted to hospital.

According to witnesses, the killers yelled ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is great) leaving the apartment. This indicated that it concerns Islamic extremist that lately have killed more people in cold blood, especially members of religious minorities (Christians, Hindu, and Shiite Muslims), as well as atheists. The murderers of Mannan and Mojumdar remain at large.

Xulhaz Mannan and Tonoy Mojumdar were the founders of Roopbaan, the first LGBTI magazine in Bangladesh, which was first published in 2004. Mannan was editor in chief, and Mojumdar wrote articles for the magazine. The past two years, Mannan had also co-organised the Rainbow Rally in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. This year, it would be held during Bengali New Year on April 14th, but it was prohibited for security reasons by the police.

According to the Head of BBC World Service Sabir Mustafa, Mannan and Mojumbar kept their involvement in Roopbaan hidden, but were open about their sexual orientation. According to Mustafa, they did not believe their lives were in danger. Even though homosexual acts are still punishable in Bangladesh, Roopbaan was not forbidden by the authorities in Bangladesh. The magazine received support from foreign embassies, including that of the United States of America.

Mannan was working for the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and was also former Chief Protocol of the American ambassador.

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In the New Issue of Gay News, 311, July 2017

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