(From AFP)

Pressure mounted on Bangladesh Tuesday after two leading gay rights activists were hacked to death, the latest in a series of chilling attacks on intellectuals, writers and religious minorities for which only a handful of people have been convicted.

The bodies of two gay rights activists who were hacked to death are brought down from an apartment in Dhaka, on April 25
The bodies of the two gay rights activists are brought down from an apartment in Dhaka

A group affiliated to al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the latest killings. A Twitter handle that identified itself as an outlet of Ansar Al Islam said its fighters had killed Xulhaz Mannan and Mahbub Rabbi Tonoy, calling them “the pioneers of practicing (sic) and promoting homosexuality in Bangladesh”.

At least six men carrying machetes and guns entered an apartment building in Dhaka on Monday night and killed Mannan, editor of a magazine for the LGBT community, and fellow activist Tonoy.

Rights groups said the latest killings and the murder on Saturday of a liberal university professor appeared to show the attackers were expanding their range of targets. They demanded justice and greater protection for minority groups in the conservative Muslim nation.

“The brutal killing of an editor of an LGBTI publication and his friend, days after a university professor was hacked to death, underscores the appalling lack of protection being afforded to a range of peaceful activists in the country,” said Amnesty International’s South Asia director Champa Patel. Read More

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