WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The wife of a U.S. blogger who was killed by suspected Islamic militants while visiting Bangladesh said on Wednesday that she had suffered brain injuries during the attack and called on Dhaka authorities to “pursue a thorough investigation.”
Rafida Bonya Ahmed and her husband Avijit Roy, both U.S. citizens of Bangladeshi origin who lived in Atlanta, were attacked on Feb. 26 by men wielding machetes outside a literary fair in Dhaka.
She suffered head injuries and lost a finger and is being treated at an undisclosed location in the United States.
“While the international community has offered help with the investigation, the Bangladeshi government has failed to mention a word about Avijit’s gruesome murder since the day it occurred,” Ahmed said. “This turning of a blind eye feeds both the public’s sense of cynicism and the terrorists’ sense of invincibility.”
The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating with Bangladeshi authorities. A suspect accused of ties to militant group Hizbut Tahrir, Farabi Shafiur Rahman, has been arrested. Ahmed called his arrest insufficient.
A senior Bangladesh police official last week said the arrest helped confirm that the attack was terrorism-related but that it “might take some time” to complete the investigation.
In a telephone interview, Ahmed said that U.S. doctors have repaired nerves and arteries in her hands and arms, and have treated four stab wounds to the head. She said she has undergone several surgeries – with more to come – but did not know the precise number.
“I still feel very slow, and sometimes dizzy, and cannot sleep well,” she said. “It’s been hard but there has been so much support, so many people helping out with writing and protesting and rallying, that this is encouraging.”
Roy published several books on secularism and free thought, including The Philosophy of Disbelief, and ran a blog dedicated to free speech. His killing follows a string of attacks on secular bloggers in the Muslim-majority nation.
Rallies in Roy’s honor were held in Dhaka and Washington this month. His wife noted that Thursday is Bangladesh’s Independence Day. “It saddens us that we have to spend today begging for justice against the atrocious deeds of religious fanatics,” she said.
Reporting by Washington Bureau; Editing by Jason Szep and Andrew Hay