July 17, 2000
Her Excellency Sheikh Hasina
Prime Minister, People's Republic of Bangladesh
Office of the Prime Minister
VIA FAX: 011-88-02-811-3244
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) condemns yesterday's assassination of veteran journalist Shamsur Rahman, special correspondent of the Bengali-language national daily Janakantha, and urges your government to ensure that the perpetrators of this terrible crime are brought to justice.
On July 16 at around 8:20 p.m., two armed men entered Rahman's office on Jail Road in central Jessore and shot him at point-blank range, firing one bullet through his forehead and another through his chest, according to local news reports. Rahman, 43, had been working alone in his office when his assailants arrived. The gunmen reportedly fled the scene immediately.
Sajed Rahman Bakul, a colleague of Rahman's at Janakantha, had left the office minutes before the gunmen arrived. He heard the shots from the street and rushed back with several neighbors. Rahman was pronounced dead on arrival at Jessore General Hospital.
Rahman regularly reported on the activities of criminal gangs and armed political groups in and around Jessore. Because of its location close to the Indian border with southwestern Bangladesh, Jessore is a center for smuggling operations. Sources at Janakantha told CPJ that Rahman had periodically received death threats in retaliation for his reporting.
"Rahman was known for his impartiality and for his blunt dismissal of many of the political groups as being little more than criminal gangs," said a BBC report yesterday. Rahman had been a frequent contributor to the BBC's Bengali-language service.
The Committee to Protect Journalists is dedicated to the defense of our colleagues around the world, and we are deeply saddened by the murder of Shamsur Rahman. We are encouraged by Home Minister Mohammed Nasim's visit to Jessore today and hope that his personal attention to this case will help guarantee a prompt and thorough investigation into Rahman's murder.
We thank you for your attention to this urgent matter and await your response.
Ann K. Cooper