US President Barack Obama writes to family of slain Xulhaz Mannan expressing condolences

The family of murdered gay rights activist Xulhaz Mannan has said that US President Barack Obama has written to them mourning the late USAID official’s death and expressing support.

Senior Correspondentbdnews24.com
Published : 3 June 2016, 07:32 AM
Updated : 3 June 2016, 07:43 AM

Xulhaz’s elder brother Minhaz Manna told bdnews24.com that USAID Bangladesh’s Mission Director Janina Jaruzelski handed over the letter to them on Thursday.

He said Obama and his wife Michelle expressed their condolences in the letter. “It said Xulhaz’s bravery and devotion to establish equal rights will inspire all.”
 
On the evening of Apr 25, assailants had barged into the apartment of Xulhaz, who was also an editor of Bangladesh’s first LGBT magazine, ‘Roopbaan’, in Dhaka’s Kalabagan and hacked him and his theatre activist friend Mahbub Rabbi Tonoy to death on the spot.

The 35-year old was a cousin of Dipu Moni, a former foreign minister and the Awami League’s Joint General Secretary.

Militant outfit ‘Ansar Al Islam’, which claims to be the Bangladesh affiliate of al-Qaeda, had claimed responsibility for the killings. But police blamed banned militant group Ansarullah Bangla Team.
 
An activist of the Ansarullah Bangla Team has also been arrested over the murder.

However, Xulhaz’s family has expressed frustration at police’s inability to make further headway in the investigation, though a month has passed since the murder.

After Xulhaz’s killing, US Ambassador in Dhaka Marcia Bernicat had said she had taken the matter personally while urging the Bangladesh government in the ‘strongest terms’ to apprehend the murderers.

On Apr 28, US Secretary of State John Kerry had phoned Prime Minister Sheikih Hasina and expressed concern over the murder.

Calling Xulhaz ‘our colleague’, Kerry had asked the prime minister to bring the killers to justice.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
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