US condemns 'brutal murder' of blogger in Bangladesh

Bangladeshi social activists shout slogans during a protest against the killing of US blogger of Bangladeshi origin, Avijit Roy - founder of the Mukto-Mona (Free-mind) blog site - who was hacked to death by unidentified assailants, in Dhaka on Feb 27
Bangladeshi social activists shout slogans during a protest against the killing of US blogger of Bangladeshi origin, Avijit Roy - founder of the Mukto-Mona (Free-mind) blog site - who was hacked to death by unidentified assailants, in Dhaka on Feb 27, 2015. -- PHOTO: AFP
Avijit Roy's wife Rafida Ahmed Banna is carried on a stretcher after she was seriously injured by unidentified assailants, in Dhaka on Feb 27, 2015. Her husband was killed in the attack. -- PHOTO: AFP
Avijit Roy's wife Rafida Ahmed Banna is carried on a stretcher after she was seriously injured by unidentified assailants, in Dhaka on Feb 27, 2015. Her husband was killed in the attack. -- PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Washington on Friday condemned the "brutality and cowardice" in the killing of an American blogger of Bangladeshi origin and called his murder an assault on the country's "proud tradition" of free speech.

"The United States condemns in the strongest terms the brutal murder of Avijit Roy," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

"He was taken from us in a shocking act of violence," she told reporters.

Roy, founder of Mukto-Mona (Free-mind) blog, was attacked by unknown assailants as he returned home from a book fair with his wife on Thursday evening, and hacked to death with machetes.

He had allegedly received threats from Islamic militants due to his books and a prominent blog which championed liberal secular writing in the Muslim-majority nation.

"This was not just an attack against a person, but a cowardly assault on the universal principles enshrined in Bangladesh's constitution, and the country's proud tradition of free intellectual and religious discourse," Psaki said.

She offered condolences to his family as his wife, who is also a blogger, was moved to a clinic for further treatment after she was seriously injured in the attack.

No-one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.