bangladesh_bloggers_arrested_apr2013_demotix_468In January, 29 year old blogger Asif Mohiuddin was stabbed. In February, 35 year old atheist blogger involved in the Shahbag protests, Ahmed Rajib, was brutally killed. Islamists continue to threaten prominent bloggers and have called for the “execution of 84 atheist bloggers for insulting religion”.

Rather than defend freedom of expression and protect freethinkers, the Bangladeshi government has arrested several bloggers, promised to pursue others, and shut down websites and blogs.

We, the undersigned, call for 25 April to be an international day to defend Bangladesh’s bloggers and activists. On this day, we urge groups and individuals to rally at Bangladeshi embassies, contact members of parliament in their countries of residence, highlight the situation, write protest letters, carry out acts of solidarity, Tweet #Bangladesh #Bloggers, and sign this petition.

We unequivocally condemn the attacks on and threats against atheist, secularist and freethinking bloggers and call on the Bangladeshi government to guarantee their safety, respect free expression and prosecute Islamists who threaten, attack and harm critics.

Freedom of expression, including to criticise Islam and Islamism as well as to blaspheme, is a basic right.

Signed (organisations mentioned also endorse the day of action):

Aisha Gill, Academic
Amanda Brown, Founder, We are Atheism
Amanda Sebestyen, Writer
Andrew Copson, Chief Executive, British Humanist Association
Anissa Helie, Algerian/French Activist
Anna Bergström, Board Member, Swedish Humanist Association
Annie Sugier, President, Ligue du Droit International des Femmes
Arifur Rahman, Bangladeshi Blogger
Avijit Roy, Bangladeshi Blogger
B B Chaudhuri, Chairperson, International Forum for Secular Bangladesh
Bill Ligertwood, Kamloops Centre for Rational Thought
Boris van der Ham, Chairman, Humanistisch Verbond (Dutch Humanist Association)
Carlos A. Diaz, President, Atheist Alliance International
Caroline Fourest, Writer and Journalist
Cezar Maroti, Romanian Humanist Association will sign the letter.
Charlie Klendjian, Secretary, Lawyers’ Secular Society
Christopher Roche, Bath Atheists, Humanists and Secularists
Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor, Co-Presidents, Freedom From Religion Foundation
David Nicholls, President, Atheist Foundation of Australia
David Silverman, President, American Atheists
Derek Lennard, Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association
Djemila Benhabib, Journalist and Writer
DPR Jones, The Magic Sandwich Show
Dya Ahmad, Member of Youth Parliament in Iraq and Secretary of Student and Youth organisation in Iraq
Emily Dietle, Blogger
Eric Jayne, President, Minnesota Atheists
Esam Shoukry, Head, Organization for Secularism and Civil Rights in Iraq
Fabian van Langevelde, Board Member, Atheïstisch Verbond (Dutch Atheist Alliance)
Faisal Saeed Al-Mutar, Iraqi Writer and Human Rights activist, Founder of Global Secular Humanist Movement
Fariborz Pooya, Iranian Secular Society
Farzana Hassan, Writer
Fiammetta Venner, Filmmaker and Writer
Gea Meijers, Founding Member, International Humanist and Ethical Youth Organisation
Ginny Laag and Adrian Rox, London Atheist Activist Group
Giti Thadani, Writer
Greta Christina, Writer and Blogger
Harold Kroto, Nobel Prize Winner
Harsh Kapoor, South Asia Citizens Web
Helen Palmer, Chair, Central London Humanists Group
Hope Knutsson, President, Sidmennt – The Icelandic Ethical Humanist Association
Houzan Mahmoud, Spokesperson, Organisation for Women’s Freedom in Iraq
Ibn Warraq, Writer
Imad Iddine Habib, founder, Moroccan Council of Ex-Muslims
Ineke de Vries, Director, Humanistisch Verbond (Dutch Humanist Association)
Inna Shevchenko, Spokesperson, FEMEN
Jacek Tabisz, President, Polish Rationalist Society
Jacques Rousseau, South African Free Society Institute
John Eade, Centre for Research on Multiculturalism and Migration, University of Roehampton
Joyce Arthur, Women’s Rights Activist
Julie Bindel, Writer
Justin Trottier, Spokesperson, Canadian Secular Alliance
Lalia Ducos, Women’s Initiative for Citizenship and Universal Rights
Lila Ghobady, Filmmaker
Lloyd Newson, Director of DV8 Physical Theatre
Mano Singham, Blogger
Marieme Helie Lucas, Algerian Sociologist and founder of Secularism is a Women’s Issue
Mark Embleton, President, Atheism UK
Maryam Jamel, Organisation of Women’s Liberation of Iraq
Maryam Namazie, Spokesperson, Equal Rights Now – Organisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran, One Law for All and Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain
Maryam Noory, Activist, Organisation of Women’s Liberation of Iraq
Massimo Redaelli, International Representative, Unione degli Atei e degli Agnostici Razionalisti
Meredith Doig, President, Rationalist Society of Australia
Michael De Dora, Director, Office of Public Policy, U.N. Representative, Center for Inquiry
Michael Nugent, Chair, Atheist Ireland
Michael Payton, National Director, Centre for Free Inquiry Canada
Michele Lamb, Director, Crucible Centre for Human Rights Research University of Roehampton
Mina Ahadi, Spokesperson, International Committee against Stoning, International Committee against Execution and Council of Ex-Muslims of Germany
Mohamed Mahmoud, Sudanese Academic
Nadia El-Fani, Tunisian Filmmaker
Nahla Mahmoud, Sudanese Researcher and Human Rights Activist
Nigel Fountain, Journalist
Nina Sankari, President, European Feminist Initiative Poland
Nowrin Tamanna, Lecturer, University of Reading, and blogger at Muktangon blog
Rayhan Rashid, Blogger and member of International Crimes Strategy Forum, and Bangla Community Blog Alliance
Saikat Acharjee, Solicitor, and blogger at Muktangon Blog, and member of Bangla Community Blog Alliance (BCBA)
Sushanta Das Gupta, blogger at Amar Blog , member of Bangla Community Blog Alliance
Ofy Mazy, Leader, Union of Service Workers in Iraq
Patty Debonitas, Spokesperson, Iran Solidarity
Paul Anderson, Blogger
Peter Tatchell, Director, Peter Tatchell Foundation
Raffaele Carcano, Secretary, Unione degli Atei e degli Agnostici Razionalisti
Rafiq Mahmoud, Activist
Rahila Gupta, Writer
Rebecca Watson, Blogger
Rein Zunderdorp, President, Humanist Historical Centre and De Vrije Gedachte (Netherlands Freethinkers Association)
Richard Dawkins, Scientist
Ronald A. Lindsay, President, Centre for Inquiry
Roy Speckhardt, Executive Director, American Humanist Association
Russell Blackford, Writer
Safia Lebdi, Co-founder, Neither Whores nor Submissives
Salil Tripathi, Writer
Samir Noory, Chair, Committee for Abolishing Capital Punishment in Iraq
Seth Andrews, Host, The Thinking Atheist
Silvana Uhlrich-Knoll, President, International Humanist and Ethical Youth Organisation
Sohaila Sharifi, Iranian Women’s Rights Campaigner
Sonja Eggerick, President, International Humanist and Ethical Union
Stephen Law, Centre for Inquiry UK
Stephen Stuart, President, Humanist Society of Victoria
Steve Chinn, General Secretary, Humanist Society Scotland
Suresh Grover, The Monitoring Group and AWAAZ (South Asia Watch)
Syed Anas Pasha, General Secretary, International Forum for Secular Bangladesh
Sylvia Estrada Claudio, Professor of Women and Development Studies, University of the Philippines
Taslima Nasrin, Writer
Tauriq Moosa, Writer
Terry Sanderson, President, National Secular Society
Tewfik Allal, Manifeste des libertés
Tom Flynn, Executive Director, Council for Secular Humanism
Udo Schuklenk, Professor of Philosophy
Waleed Al-Husseini, Palestinian blogger and Founder of Council of Ex-Muslims of France