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Imprisoned, disappeared, or hacked to death, because internet

The following is a list of individuals known to have been put in danger by their internet activities.

UPDATES (added from the top) (to display cases before 2017, click on title):

Haji Asam

Diananta Putra Sumedi, Indonesian blogger arrested after interviewing indigenous Dayak leaders on his blog, Banjar Hits, about a land dispute with an oil palm plantation, PT Jhonlin Agro Raya, a palm oil company and subsidiary of the Tanah Bumbu-based Jhonlin Group. The group is owned by Andi Syamsuddin Arsyad, also known as Haji Isam and “crazy rich” (profile) and is a former politician and race car driver.  Haji Isam also came into the news in 2018, with the death of Indonesian journalist Muhammad Yusuf, who died in custody under mysterious circumstances after reporting on a land conflict for the news portals Kemajuan Rakyat and Berantas News. [Mongabay, Global Trade, International Federation of Journalists], investiation promised] The arrest was made under the controversial Electronic Information and Transactions (ITE) Law; Yusef was also charged under this law. Phil Jacobson, award winning American journalist, was also detained in Indonesia after attending a meeting on land conflict. (LATimes, Time, NYT, Chicago Sun Times), Mother Jones -some bio). Added 5/19/2020.

Mohsen Lorestani (Persian محسن لرستان ), singer from a western Kurdish province of Iran, arrested at (in Persian) his mother’s house in Saadatabad, Tehran, on March 21, 2009, after a private chat in an undisclosed social media that was interpreted as flirting with a man. His case was assigned to Mohammad Moquisseh/Moqiseh  (Persian محمد مکیشه ) commonly known as a “hanging judge”.   or perhaps Mohammad Moghimi (محمد مقیمی ), [No this is Mojgan Keshavarz’s attorney]… Mohammad Moquisseh was the judge who sentenced Monireh Arabshahi, Yasamin Ariany, and Mojgan Keshavarz to a total of 55 years in prison for  “disrespecting compulsory hijab”; also sentenced women’s rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh (Farsi نسرین ستوده) to nearly forty years] The charge was ‘corruption on earth’ .  “However, an Iranian website close to the authorities claimed that Mohsen Lorestani has been arrested for membership in a network of so-called ‘Instagram dancers.’” There have been uncomfirmed rumors of the singers death, denied by his athlete brother, Morteza Qasemi (مرتضی قاسمی )/Mohsen Ghasemi ( محسن قاسمی ), who says he is in a coma.  #mohsenlorestani (Added 2/10/2020)

مرگ فرنگی‌کار قهرمان آسیا شایعه است/ موطلایی کشتی ایران در کما
ایسنا/لرستان برادر محسن قاسمی مرگ قهرمان اسبق کشتی فرنگی آسیا را تکذیب کرد.
مرتضی قاسمی در گفت‌وگو با ایسنا اظهار کرد: محسن برای ترک اعتیاد به کمپ رفت و چون بی‌قراری و درخواست قرص کرده بود حدود ۸ نفر او را به شدت کتک زدند.
وی ادامه داد: دست‌ها، پاها، صورت، فک و سر محسن را شکسته‌اند و الان در کما بوده و هوشیاری او تقریبا صفر است.
قاسمی یادآور شد: محسن در بخش icu بیمارستان آیت‌الله بروجردی بستری است.
وی گفت: خیلی از بزرگان کشتی ایران از جمله محمد بنا، حمید سوریان، طالب نعمت‌پور و… به بروجرد آمده‌اند که جا دارد از تک‌تک آنان تشکر کنم.
قاسمی بیان کرد: از مردم خواهش می‌کنیم محسن را دعا کنند که شرایط جسمانی‌اش بهتر شود و شفا پیدا کند.
به گزارش ایسنا، محسن قاسمی سابقه قهرمانی آسیا در وزن کیلوگرم و همچنین قهرمانی جام جهانی به همراه تیم ملی را در کارنامه دارد.
انتهای پیام

“Iranian law appears to allow the execution of allegedly gay men despite no evidence of actual sexual activity….According to a Britsih diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks in 2008, Iran executed up to 6,000 gays and lesbians since 1979’s Islamic Revolution.”

Chechen blogger Imran Aliyev, who criticized Kremlin-backed Chechnyna leader Ramzan Kadyrov, was found stabbed to death in France. Added 2/4/2020.

Chiara Páez (es.wiki)* 14-y-o Argentinian teenager found dead, sparked June 3, 2015 demonstration and “ni una menos,” or “not one less” protest.  https://www.huffpost.com/entry/chiara-paez-femicide-argentina_n_7513194

Malak “Angel” al-Shehri (ملاك الشهري), Saudi with 46K Twitter followers at Malak AlShehri@AngelQShe_arrested after posting a photo of herself without head covering, now out of prison and living in the west; her husband Ayman al-Drees (أيمن الدريس), an insurance underwriter, and translator of documents related to human rights, was forcibly disappeared inside Saudi. Confirmed on Twitter by the UK-based NGO ALQST that monitors human rights in KSA. (Added 1/29/2020.)

Iranian scholars: Hunger strike by Dr. Kylie Moore-Gilbert, a British Australian expert on Shia Islam and Dr. Fariba Adelkhah (فریبا عادلخواه), a French Iranian anthropologist, arrested during research visits to Iran and accused of espionage. Niloufar Bayani,* (نیلوفر بیانی) wildlife conservationist and program manager of the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation, arrested while doing research on cheetahs. See “Arrest of environmental activists in Iran“* in Farsi. Narges Mohammadi, vice president of the Defenders of Human Rights Center, prison hunger strike. Nasrin Sotoudeh, lawyer defending Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi, in Evin prison.

Nouf Abdulaziz * (نوف عبد العزيز), (Arabic Wikipedia) also known as Nouf Abdulaziz al-Jeraiwi Aldosari, Nouf Abdulaziz al-Jeraiwi, journalist and blogger (Twitter), arrested June 6, 2018 along with “activist and social media commentator Loujain Al-Hathloul; and blogger, columnist, and activist Eman Al-Nafjan” associated with the driving ban on women. 2019 PEN America/Barbey Freedom to Write Award. detained without charge at Dhahban Central Prison, moved to Al-Ha’ir Prison in Riyadh, solitary confinement, tortured, denied lawyer and access to family members. Severely beaten until she fainted, (#فاطمة_آل_نصيف تعرضت لصفعات عنيفة تركت كدمات على وجهها.) Website: The Arab Noon. Awarded PEN with Loujain Al-Hathloul and Eman Al-Nafjan. *حالات تعتبر دليلا على تورط السلطات بانتهاكات ضد حقوق الإنسان. (Fatima_al_Naseef suffered violent slaps that left bruises on her face.) Also imprisoned and tortured: Aida al-Ghamdi (mother of Saudi dissident Abdullah al-Ghamdi living in London) and her son Adel al-Ghamdi, Abeer Alnamankany (dentist), Samar Badawi, Shadan al-Onezi, Aziza al-Yousef, Eman al-Nafjan, Loujain al-Hathloul, Nouf Abdulaziz al-Jeraiwi, Abdulaziz al-Meshaal (a philanthropist), Mohamed al-Bajadi and Yasser al-Ayyaf (Guardian). See also Hatoon Al-Fassi (reuters), Nassima al-Saada, Mayaa al-Zahrani (aljazeera), Amal al-Harbi (Washington post), and Mohammed al-Rabia (link). (Added 11/3/2019)

Ali al-Omari, * (علي العمري) (Arabic wikipedia) a moderate Sunni cleric from Saudi Arabia who has advocated against religious extremism and for more rights for women, mostly active on Snapchat. Faces death penalty. Also reported by Prisoners of Conscience @m3takl_en Detained September 2017. 30 charges including the death penalty brought against him in a secret trial January 2019. (Added 10/22/2019); “Leading Saudi Arabian scholars” Salman al-Awdah, Awad al-Qarni and Ali al-Omari sentenced to death (al-jazeera) “Adwah, Qarni, and Omari have been tied to the Muslim Brotherhood-inspired Sahwa movement,according to author Kristian Coates Ulrichsen and analyst Giorgio Cafiero.

Abdulaziz al-Odah, son of imprisoned cleric Salman al-Odah, was arrested after tweeting support for the Palestinian cause. (Added 10/22/2019)

Salman al-Odah, Salman al-Awdah, (سلمان العودة ) Saudi religious scholar, imprisoned and now faces the death penalty after posting on Twitter to encourage the government to end its diplomatic impasse with Qatar. Clerics were ordered to tweet in favor of the Saudi government blockade of Qatar, but instead al-Odah tweeted “May God harmonize between their hearts for the good of their people.” (added 10/22/2019). Has 14 million followers on Twitter. Salman al-Awdah, Awad al-Qarni and Ali al-Omari sentenced to death (al-jazeera) “Adwah, Qarni, and Omari have been tied to the Muslim Brotherhood-inspired Sahwa movement.” according to author Kristian Coates Ulrichsen and analyst Giorgio Cafiero.

Nabeel Rajab, (نبيل أحمد رجب ), Bahrain. 5-year prison term for “spreading fake news” after criticizing Yemen war. H/T Jimmy Wales Foundation.

Vahid Sayadi Nasiri died in an Iranian prison after being incarcerated since 2015.  The charges were “insulting the supreme leader” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and spreading “propaganda against the state” on Facebook. His family had requested he be moved from Raja’i Shahr to the notorious Evin prison.

Kuwait again. This may more properly belong on an article about human rights in Kuwait, however Russian-born hedge fund manager Marsha Lazareva (no article) recently released after spending 470 days in Kuwait’s overcrowded Sulaibiya prison on forged documents. Huge amounts of money changed hands.

Abdullah al-Saleh Kuwait 1Abdallah Saleh, Kuwaiti blogger, charged by the Saudi ambassador in Kuwait for criticizing Saudi blockade of Doha, fled to London, sentenced to 25 years in abstentia “insulting Saudi Arabia, the Emirates and Bahrain”.

Mohamed Ould Cheikh Ould Mkhaitir, Mauritanian blogger. Arrested in 2014 and sentenced to death for “blasphemy” and “apostasy” after speaking out against slavery and Mauritania’s caste system. In March 2017, I started articles about him on Simple, Spanish, and Arabic wikis.  Two weeks later there were articles started on the English, French, and Portuguese wikis, and the person who started those articles then circled back and added a photo to my article.  In November 2017 the charges against him were dropped but he remained in prison. In July 2019, American Vice President Mike Pence spoke out against his detention. In August 2019, he was released and moved outside the country. Think about this cycle of events.  What would have happened if there was no Wikipedia page?  Looking down this page to 2016, I have a H/T to the Jimmy Wales Foundation, so thank you Jimmy and Orit.

Nguyen Ngoc Anh, Vietnamese blogger, (disambig, the shrimp farmer, not the swimmer or footballer) environmental protests against Formosa Plastics Group toxic waste dump into the sea, sentenced to six years in prison under the country’s new law that cracks down on online dissent. (added 10/16/2019)

Truong Duy Nhat, * (Trương Duy Nhất) (vi.wiki) Vietnamese blogger, suspected abduction from Bangkok in 2019.  Applied for refugee status at the UNHCR’s office in Bangkok on January 25, 2019, disappeared Jan 26, reappeared in Hanoi prison Jan 28,  held without charges, daughter says he was kidnapped in Thailand, wife not allowed to visit. (CPJ)(BBC -Vietnamese)(WSJ) police raid his attorney’s office (RFA) (added 10/16/2019)

• China kidnappings in Hong Kong.  Five individuals of the Causeway Bay Books disappearances: Gui Minhai, 桂敏海or 桂民海a Chinese-born Swedish bookseller, Lam Wingkei / Lam Wing-kee (林榮基 ) (stub), book store general manager Lui Bo/Paul Lee and business manager Cheung Jiping, disappeared in Hong Kong and believed to be kidnapped by China. “Lui Por, general manager of the Mighty Current publishing house” reappeared 2016. Fifth disappearance chief editor Lee Bo, disappeared 2915. Statement by human rights activist Albert Ho (Chinese: 何俊仁) (BBC).

• Germans arrested in Turkey.  Deniz Yucel, Peter Steudtner, Dogan Akhanli, (CNN), taxi driver Ilhami A, (Reuters) “terrorist propaganda”, and 12 political arrests relating to social media of German citizens in Turkey.

Jamal Khashoggi RIP (1958 – 2018) Killed and dismembered inside the Saudi embassy in Turkey while his fiance waited outside.  His body was never found.

From Foreign Policy:

When it comes to security, activists in the Arab world are not only worried now about the dangers from their own governments that view them as threats, whether they live at home or abroad. They are also worried about the recklessness of outsiders who might unwittingly—or otherwise—expose them to unnecessary risks.

Many commentators, myself included, have pointed out that it was completely inappropriate for comments that were given by Khashoggi off the record to be revealed in print after he disappeared in Istanbul. Thomas Friedman did so in his New York Times column, and the BBC did much the same.

from Slate:

I’ve heard of seminars in autocratic states where the speaker has made it clear they need it to be a closed event—and organizers overrule them. I’ve heard of private workshops where participants are clear that they cannot have delegates from the embassies of certain countries—and they’re ignored. I’ve heard of interviewees in dictatorships who were clear that their comments were off the record—but the interviewer identified them anyway. Anyone who has ever felt the grip of an authoritarian system, be it Saudi, Turkish, Russian, or Chinese, understands the need for these precautions. But often, outsiders arrogantly believe they know better….

Here is the reality for those who do work on authoritarian states, particularly those who are from those states or live in those states: They take it for granted that their phones might be tapped, that their online data might be hacked, that they might be arrested while working in those states or upon arrival in airports or deported for their opinions. They also know that far worse may take place. (Slate)

• Germans in Turkey.  Dozens of German citizens imprisoned in Turkey for online criticism of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s government.  New travel warning update issued by the German government on 10-23-2018: “Arrests and prosecutions frequently related to social media posts that were critical of the government. In some cases merely ‘liking’ another’s post of that nature is enough.”

Eman Al Nafjan, Saudi teacher and linguistics student.  Blogs as “Saudiwoman”.  In 2011 she drove a car in Riyadh as part of women’s driving campaign. Secretly arrested along with driving advocate Loujain al-Hathloul and at least three others. Tweets on a daily basis, last tweet was May 15. (Added 5/18/2018)

• Maryam Mombeini ( مریم ممبینی), wife of Iranian-Canadian professor Kavous Seyed-Emami, ( کاووس سیدامامی) (NYT) has been detained in Iran after the mysterious prison death of her husband in February. The arrest was not announced and the death was not confirmed by official sources.  The professor’s two sons were allowed to leave the country March 7, 2018 but at the last minute Maryam was detained at the airport. (Added 3/8/2018) Maryam Mombeini was released after 582 days in Iran, reunited with her family and dogs at Vancouver airport on Oct. 10, 2019. Her husband was Kavous Seyed-Emami, an acclaimed environmentalist who co-founded the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation. The group was trying to save the endangered Asiatic cheetas in Iran. ***Eight conservationists from the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation remain imprisoned: Taher Ghadirian, Niloufar Bayani, Amirhossein Khaleghi, Houman Jokar, Sam Rajabi, Sepideh Kashani, Morad Tahbaz, and Abdolreza Kouhpayeh. (Science) (national geographic) (Updated 11/06/2019)

Sattar Beheshti (ستار بهشتی ) “was an Iranian blogger who died in early November 2012 several days after being arrested by the Iranian Cyber Police unit for criticizing the government of the Islamic Republic on Facebook…” (Added 3/8/2018)

• Wu Xiangyang, China, five and a half years in prison (Guardian, the Economist) for VPN service that allows people behind China’s Great Firewall to access websites like Google, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. To all the people who have argued with me about the safety of VPN’s:  I TOLD YOU SO. When I was in China, I was able to access Wikipedia, including the Tienanmen Square article, but not Facebook, although a Chinese person did approach me to friend them on FB.  This was before Wikipedia was blocked in China.  I also used Google Translate extensively for banking and accommodation.  For anyone who is wondering whether it is safe to edit Wikipedia while logged out, let me just say that after I made an edit about a human rights violation, from inside a country bordering China, that I was immediately checkusered and blocked, without any sockpuppet investigation, by an admin from China, whose early edits to Wikipedia under a different user name were to a prestigious secondary school in China used by China’s ruling class, and who has apparently been a grad student in the US for the last 12 years.  In spite of my inquiries to UTRS, this individual still has checkuser rights, and will not hesitate to destroy a clean block log, which will permanently blacklist you from any future relationship you might have with Wikipedia. (added 1/6/2018)

• Ahmed Mansoor, Emirati telecommunications engineer, in UAE prison for unspecified social media comments. (Aljazeera, BBC, ABC); 2015 Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders (Amnesty international) see Wikipedia UAE Five. Via EFF’s “A Grim Year for Imprisoned Technologists: 2017 In Review” which also names imprisoned open source software developer Dmitry Bogatov, (no Wikipedia article), of Moscow’s Finance and Law University who ran a volunteer Tor relay, Egyptian software developer Alaa abd el-Fattah, and Canadian-Iranian open source coder Saeed Malekpour, imprisoned when he visited Iran to see his dying father, now in prison for 10 years. (Added 12/28/2017.)

• Osama Al-Najjar, 25 year old from UAE, objected on Twitter to the arrest of his father as one of the UAE 94. He remains in prison in Abu Dhabi seven months after completing his sentence. The UAE 94 are Islamists with ties to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood which is banned in the UAE. Added 11/29/2017. Released from Al-Razeen prison in Abu-Dhabi August 2019.

• Naima Al-Matrood, ( نعيمة المطرود) Saudi internet activist, she was sentenced to six years on prison on 10 November 2017, “violating public order by creating two social networking accounts on Twitter and Facebook to demand the release of some detainees”, arrested in Dammam (eastern Shiite region) but tried in the Specialised Criminal Court (SCC) in Riyadh (central Sunni region). Identified by the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) which objects to trying activists in courts like SCC that handle “terrorism” cases. GCHR has offices in Copenhagen and Beirut; it is a non-profit. Added 11/29/2017. In Feb 2019 it was reported that the 43-year-old al-Matrood had serious and untreated health problems in prison. (Updated 11/7/2019)

Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh (“Mother Mushroom”) from Vietnam, sentenced to 10 years in prison after posting to Facebook about a toxic waste spill. On Nov 27, 2017, another critic of the steel mill spill, Nguyen Van Hoa was given 10 years. Added 11/28/2017.

14 Saudi Shiites from the eastern provinces, using Facebook and their Blackberries to photograph and/or send photographs of demonstrations. Tortured to extract confessions and sentenced to death. Some or possibly all underage juveniles.   Added 8/6/2017.

• Bassel Khartabil’s death confirmed. Added 8/4/2017

Noura_Ghazi_el_20_de_octubre_de_2011 1I note in passing that Khartabil’s wife Noura Ghazi is a human rights attorney in her own right, and comes from a family with a history of defending civil rights. The article I wrote for her on simple.wiki back in March 2016 has gotten over 160 page views in the last 3 days, so people are turning to Wikipedia for information about her, but she still has no article of her own on the English or Arabic Wikipedia. (A very nice article for her was added to English Wikipedia in May 2018, as well as French and Dutch, but there still is no article in Arabic.)

Bassel_Safadi,_Seoul,_2010 1Beyond that, while it is interesting to have a martyr to the open source cause, this does nothing to propel forward the work that Kartabil was doing, in particular with #NEWPALMRYA. I note that there is now a memorial fund for continuing this work, but no one seems to have stopped to think of the implications for any people working on such a project. Khartabil is not the first martyr to the enemies of the middle east’s non-Islamic cultural heritage. Palmyra’s 81-year-old director of antiquities, Khaled al-Asaad, died horribly and his body was publicly displayed for days. I know firsthand the WMF’s cavalier attitude to volunteer safety, as I myself have been doxed repeatedly by Wikimedians in a position of authority, who had absolutely no excuse for doing so, other than believing they could get away with it. It’s time to tighten up the privacy policies and enforcement before we find ourselves with more Bassels.

Taimoor Raza, Pakistan, sentenced to death for blasphemy based on Facebook. Raza is Shia, Pakistan is predominately Sunni. VOA, Guardian, etc. Added 6/12/2017.

Ahmad Al Shamri, Saudi Arabia, (now on enwiki) death sentence about atheism on Twitter. WaPo, &c, &c  Added 4/27/2017.

Sina Dehghan * (سینا دهقان), Iran, “interrogated”, arrested by Revolutionary guards when he was 19 years old and a soldier, transferred to Arak prison ( زندان اراک ), promised to be freed if he signed a confession; after he signed, he was sentenced to death.  His family has been warned against talking publicly about the case, saying he will not be released, and they are complying. He is allowed to telephone and meet his family once a week, and they visit Tehran every week.  Accused of using LINE instant messaging application to make critical comments about Koran and Islam.  In 2015, LINE (WP article) announced that it added end-to-end encryption, however in 2016 was given an ultimatum by Iran ‘to cooperate in censorship or face blocking’. Via JWF.  Added 4/13/2017.

Merzoug Touati, Algerian blogger, imprisoned after an interview with an Israeli official over Skype. From JWF, lots of other sources in French.  Added 2/10/2017. Released March 2019.

Continued (for cases before 2017, click on title):

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Ananta Bijoy Das

Ananta Bijoy Das 1

Ananta Bijoy Das

Ananta Bijoy Das or Ananta Bijaẏa Dāśa (Bengali: অনন্ত বিজয় দাশ , অনন্ত বিজয়) (1982—2015 [1]) was an author and secular blogger from Bangladesh.[2] In February 2015, he left his house in Sylhet to go to work at a bank. Four men with masks attacked him near his house and killed him with machetes.[3][4]

Das wrote about science, and he was critical of religious fundamentalism, but he was not against religion. Two other writers, Avijit Roy and Washiqur Rahman, were also killed in Bangladesh after they wrote about secular themes.[5]



Ananta Bijoy Das giving autograph to Avijit Roy

Ananta Bijoy Das (left) giving autograph to Avijit Roy

Das wrote for Avijit Roy‘s blog Mukto-Mona (Free Thinkers).[6] He also was editor for a local science magazine, Jukti (“Reason”). He wrote several books, including a book about Charles Darwin.[6]

Das was an activist in Ganajagaran Mancha, a group that wanted to end Islamist parties.[7] He was also the head of the Science and Rationalist Council.[8]

In 2005, Das organized a small group of free-thinkers in Sylhet. Most of them were students of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology. They organized study groups, translated books into Bengali, and wrote essays. They talked about science, pseudo-science, religion, sexuality, politics, and world history.[1]

Many people were not happy about the free-thinkers. Homeopathy practitioners wanted to sue them. Many people were unhappy about their essays critical of Hinduism. Others were not happy about their talk of sexuality, a taboo subject in Bangladesh. Das’s book about the Soviet Union made the leftists unhappy. The Islamist students of the science and technology university were very unhappy.[1]


According to Reporters Without Borders, a group called Defenders of Islam wrote a “hit list” of bloggers. There were 84 names on the list. Eight of the 84 bloggers are now dead.[6] After the attack on Avijit Roy, Das received more threats about his writing.[9] In March 2015, Ananta was on a new hit list of a group called Ansarullah Bangla Team, and he wrote to the IHEU, ““It seems to me I am one of the targets . I am not sure how long I will hide myself. But I am sure If they will find me they will do what they did with Mr. Avijit Roy. My life is seriously unsecured. I am not sure how can I protect myself & my family.” [10]

When some people attacked Asif Mohiuddin‘s house, Mohiuddin tried to help Das get out of the country. Mohiuddin helped him with his papers and gave them to some organizations to get him out. Mohiuddin was attacked in 2013, and was able to get out of the country.[11]

Das planned to visit Sweden in May 2015, for World Press Freedom Day. The Swedish chapter of PEN, an international writers group, invited him.[12] The Swedish Embassy in Dhaka refused the visa. They said he might try to stay in Sweden.[13][14] Ananta Bijoy Das and another author translated the book “Am I a Monkey?: Six Big Questions About Evolution” by Spanish-American evolutionary biologist and philosopher Francisco J. Ayala into Bengali. A few months after Das was murdered, the other writer was able to get to Sweden.[1]

Das died at the age of 32 [13] on May 12, 2016. The next day, secularists marched in the city of Sylhet to protest his death.[15]

In August 2015, Bangladeshi police arrested three men for the murder of Das and Avijit Roy.[16] Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), posted a video on an extremist website saying they were responsible for the death of Avijit Roy and others. The video said their leader ordered the deaths. The police in Bangladesh said it was probably a local group called Ansarullah Bangla Team with about 100 members.[17]


In 2006, the blog Mukto-Mona gave Das their “Rationalist Award”.[18]

Selected writings

Other websites

  • Jukti (Yukti) magazine (যুক্তি): Essays on freethought, skepticism and rationalism. (অনন্ত বিজয় দাশ সম্পাদিত অত্যন্ত সাহসী একটি ম্যাগাজিন।) ed. Ananta Bijoy Dash Archived
  • Ananta Bijoy Das profile on Mukto-Mona [1] (Bengali language) Archived
  • Ananta Bijoy on Facebook
  • Profile at Center for Inquiry



“Bangladeshi secular blogger Ananta Bijoy Das hacked to death in third fatal attack this year”. Retrieved 2 August 2016.

Authority control

VIAF: 232144647696404085257

LOC: 2015132151


Sources for Pakistan Women Muslim League

The following examines sources taken from the press section of the organization’s official website for Pakistan Women Muslim League at http://pwml.pk/index.php/home-en/10-icetheme/features/245-news-media to see if the topic is notable per WP:NONPROFITThe images are screenshots of newspaper clippings in the Urdu language.

Non-commercial organizations

Organizations are usually notable if they meet both of the following standards:

  • The scope of their activities is national or international in scale
  • The organization has received significant coverage in multiple reliable sources that are independent of the organization.

Note: I have used  پاکستان ومیم مسلم لیگ for a search term, (see images below) but the name does not google well because the name is very similar to another organization:


Logo screenshots from Facebook here.

There are 11 articles from Peshawar, 2 from unknown Pakistani location, and 3 articles from sources from the capital of Islamabad, showing national scope.  A total of 12 newspapers have published articles about Pakistan Women Muslim League. One of them includes an interview with the founder.

The current article sources already show the organization is duly registered with the Pakistani government as required prior to the elections, but the photos also clearly show the organization participating as political party representatives of the political process both at Peshawar,  and the capital city of Islamabad, and in particular as a legitimate national political partner in the FAFEN consultations.

Thumbnail images are below the fold

Unknown articles:

Articles from Peshawar:


The thumbnails:
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Review of “Privacy, Anonymity, and Perceived Risk in Open Collaboration”

Summary and comments on “Privacy, Anonymity, and Perceived Risk in Open Collaboration: A Study of Tor Users and Wikipedians”, by Andrea Forte, Rachel Greenstadt, and Nazanin Andalibi. Download PDF.

See also:

For anyone who missed this when it went around in October, it is worth reading in its entirety, although there is a lot of information packed into it. The premise is that there is an element of risk in open-source collaboration–for example, Bassel Khartobil, who disappeared after collaboration on the world heritage site at Palmyra, now destroyed by ISIS, or the anonymous Wikipedian of the year for 2015, who Jimmy Wales named “in pectore” for fear of reprisals. The researchers wanted to understand how these risks are perceived inside open-source movements by the users themselves. They did a series of structured interviews with users from Tor and Wikipedia, then used Atlas.ti software to identify the themes.

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Transcript: Andrea Forte on anonymity

Wikimedia Research Showcase, December 21, 2016, “Editing Encyclopedias and other dangerous jobs” by Andreas Forte

anon01-editing-wwikipedia-and-other-dangerous-jobs[33:00] Andrea Forte: Okay. Hi there.  So, I’m going to be talking about something completely different. This is work that I’ve been doing for the past couple of years with my collaborator Rachel Greenstadt, who’s also on the hangout here and also PhD student Nazanine Andalibi.

So, this is not the title of the paper that we wrote about this study, but as I’ve continued to think about the kind of research that we’re doing on privacy-related issues in Wikipedia, this is how I’ve started to think about it. There’s risk inherent in participating online, and people who are working on seemingly mundane tasks are encountering this risk like anyone else online.

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Secularist e-books in Bengali

Most of these were originally published in Dhaka as books, and sold at book fairs by the authors, many of whom were associated with the Mukto-Muna secularist bloggers’ website. Since the writers have all pretty much been either hacked to death or driven into exile, these should all  be eligible for Banned Books Week, if Bangladesh ever gets around to having one.

Selected writings (Bengali language):

Philosophy of Disbelief - Avijit Roy and Abir RaihanAvijit Roy and Abir Raihan, Philosophy of Disbelief, (অবিশ্বাসের দর্শন) (2011, 2015), published by Faisal Arefin Dipan and edited by Ananta Bijoy Das, both hacked to death by Islamic extremists; Avijit Roy was also hacked to death. Download (ডাউনলোড) ebook (  ইবুক ) PDF (পিডিএফ): https://drive.google.com/file/d/0ByhjQNt3o4g2SlY3THlVV3FIQlE/view

The Virus of Faith - Avijit RoyAvijit Roy, The Virus of Faith, (বিশ্বাসের ভাইরাস)  (2014, 2015) Download (ডাউনলোড) PDF (পিডিএফ): https://drive.google.com/file/d/0ByhjQNt3o4g2aXpHSnpOa2RGQmM/view

Darwin Day anthology, (ডারউইন দিবস সংকলন) (2009)  https://mukto-mona.com/Special_Event_/Darwin_day/2009/index.htm

Darwin relevance to the twenty-first century and thought - by Ananta Bijoy DasDarwin: the relevance of the twenty-first century and thought, (ডারউইন: একুশ শতকে প্রাসঙ্গিকতা এবং ভাবনা) ed. Ananta Bijoy Das (2011) (see Anata Bijoy Das for link to text on Mukto-Mona মুক্তমনা )

Jukti magazine - ed Ananta Bijoy RasJukti (Yukti) magazine (যুক্তি): Essays on freethought, skepticism and rationalism. (অনন্ত বিজয় দাশ সম্পাদিত অত্যন্ত সাহসী একটি ম্যাগাজিন।) ed. Ananta Bijoy Dash https://mukto-mona.com/project/2007books/yukti/index.htm [Archived]

Am I a monkey - tr Ananta Bijoy Ras and Siddhartha DharAyala, f. J., Am I a monkey? Six big questions about evolution,(আমি কি একটা বাঁদর?) (2010), tr. Ananta Das and Siddharth Vijay Dhar (2011) Download  (ডাউনলোড) PDF (পিডিএফ) http://www.amarboi.com/2015/12/jibbiborton-shadharon-path.html

Nari book coverHumaya Azad, Nari (নারী) Nāree “Woman”(1992) Download  (ডাউনলোড) PDF (পিডিএফ) Nari – Woman -[Full Book] By Humayun Azad 1992 http://www.mediafire.com/file/h47h7dbcoueszbu/Nari+%5BFull+Book%5D+By+Humayun+Azad+%28allbanglaboi.blogspot.com+%29.pdf

These are only essays that have been covered in the media. There are more secularist essays in Bengali (বাংলা ভাষা) at the secularist blog Mukto-Mona (মুক্তমনা). https://blog.mukto-mona.com/2009/10/27/2884/ For the convenience of anyone trying to navigate the Bengali page, a google translation of this page follows.  Note, the links may be a bit funky, since they came through Google Translate; to download an essay you will have to go to the original (Bengali language) site:

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Jimmy Wales Foundation update

Jimmy Wales announced the Jimmy Wales Foundation at Wikimania 2015

Jimmy Wales announced his new Jimmy Wales Foundation for freedom of expression at Wikimania 2015. [image source]

The Jimmy Wales Foundation is a non-profit started by Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales, in order to promote human rights in the field of freedom of expression, particularly online speech.

Many times writers and journalists have big established organizations standing behind them when they run afoul of local censorship.  But when bloggers and individual social media users are kidnapped or imprisoned, who can speak up for them?  It is these more vulnerable users who do not have that supportive backing that the JWF focuses on, finding and promoting individual victims who are having their voices taken away from them.

The organization was established with prize money from the “Knowledge Award”, which was presented to Jimmy and Tim Berners-Lee at the first Knowledge Conference in Dubai.

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Vietnamese blogger released; twenty women still in prison

TA PHONG TANVietnamese blogger Ta Phong Tan is free.  She arrived in the U.S. on Saturday.  Twenty more women political prisoners have been highlighted in a #free the 20 campaign, kicked off by Samantha Power, the  U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Their profiles are here.

free the 20-lrgThe names are:

  1. Wang Yu, China
  2. Khadija Ismayilova, Azerbaijan
  3. Bahareh Hedayat, Iran
  4. 4-6 Blen Mesfin
  5. Meron Alemayehu,
  6. and Nigist Wondifraw, Ethiopia
  7. Gao Yu, China
  8. Aster Yohannes, Eritrea
  9. Matlyuba Kamilova, Uzbekistan
  10. Leyla Yunus, Azerbaijan
  11. Phyoe Phyoe Aung, Burma
  12. Liu Xia, China
  13. Bui Thi Minh Hang, Vietnam
  14. Judge María Lourdes Afiuni Mora, Venezuela
  15. Sanaa Seif, Egypt (released September 24, 2015) See note.
  16. Naw Ohn Hla, Burma
  17. Nadiya Savchenko, Ukraine/Russia
  18. Anonymous, North Korea
  19. Bui Thi Minh Hang, Vietnam
  20. Rasha Chorbaji, Syria (usually spelled Rasha Sharbaji, Ar: رشا شربجي)

UPDATE: Sanaa Seif was released along with 100 other prisoners, including two male al-Jazeera reporters, Mohamed Fahmy of Canada and Baher Mohamed of Egypt. The Wikipedia articles of Fahmy and Mohamed have both been updated.  The Wikipedia article of Seif has not. (updated Feb/2016)

Interview with Samantha Power September 28, 2019 says 16 of the 20 women were released.

Text of interview:

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Wikipedia, the 2015 Voltaire Lecture, and death by machete

Earlier this year, in Bangladesh, Bonya Ahmed survived a machete attack that killed her husband, blogger Avijit Roy. Last month she delivered the 2015 Voltaire Lecture to the British Humanist Association in London.

God bless the Humanists, they have provided a transcript: https://humanism.org.uk/fighting-machetes-with-pens-a-full-transcript-of-the-2015-voltaire-lecture/

First, the WP articles:

Avijit Roy was not the only blogger attacked; there were 8 total. Here are their Wikipedia articles, or lack thereof.

Now, some parallels to Wikipedia.  Bonya Ahmed narates:

“We were stabbed repeatedly with machetes on the side of the road. The area was surrounded by police officers and video cameras and thousands and thousands of people. Nobody came to help us, the police stood by.”

Does this not sound like Arbcom, telling women tat if they don’t want to be attacked, to keep a lower profile?

“Two men were arrested at the scene by bystanders….”

…not by the police.  This would suggest the  government is complicit.  And who defends women at en.wp?  Not the admin corps, not the arbitration committee. Time and time again, it’s the ordinary bystanders. (I should know, I was one.)

“They said they killed Washiqur despite never having read his blog themselves, but under orders from someone at their madrasas.”

Internet “brigaders” or meatpuppets these days get their marching orders from Reddit.

“At this point, perhaps, Sheikh Hasina could have slapped down the Islamists. She could have said that no, people have a right to demonstrate, to write, to question, to criticize. But instead, this is what she said: We do not need a new blasphemy law, because we already have a law against ‘hurting religious sentiments’ and we can prosecute the bloggers under that law! So the authorities received the list of suspect bloggers, officials promised to investigate, and then they arrested four of those bloggers from the list and pursued them through the courts.”

The real crime is discussion, the attempt at dialogue, at trying to reach for a consensus.  Asking questions is not okay.  Because, what if vested power can’t think of a reasonable answer?  The questions themselves must be suppressed, the questioners killed.

The Arbcom could have protected the Gender Gap Task Force as it protected the Classical Music and Opera projects in the Infoboxes case, but it chose not to.  The Arbcom could have declared hands off on hate speech directed against women, as it did against gays in the Manning Naming Dispute case, but it chose not to.  When those in authority refuse to curtail hate speech that demonizes particular groups, can violence be far behind?

“So, what happens when you give bullies what they want? What happens when you accede to crazy demands? Soon there were one-hundred thousand Islamists marching on the streets of Dhaka demanding not just ‘death to atheist bloggers’, but for the cancellation of planned new education reforms that would have helped girls into education, and yet the government again made concessions.”

Ah, when the bullies arrive, the girls are the first to go.  Why am I not surprised.

“Even more ridiculously, it seems that you could now get 14 years for criticizing religion online, while 2 years if you do so in print media.”

Yup, it is casual conversation on talk pages–not guest posts in the Signpost–that must be brutally suppressed.

The solution?

“What we are left with is us, ourselves: my thoughts and feelings, my losses as well as my triumphs, the meaning in my life, these are all important, because they are all that counts. And It makes no sense until we extend this realization as far as it will go in the human family. It is not just ourselves, but each other, every trafficked slave, every murdered writer, every lost and lonely mind, that are important and have value.”

Make it so.  We can start by doing away with primitive expressions of contempt for anyone who is not of our tribe.

Oh, and Bonya Ahmed?  Her Wikipedia article is non-existent. The Google juice for that directs to her husband’s article.  laughing I wrote her article on simple wiki in August 2016, which was migrated to English wiki in Feb 2017.


“There is a deadline”: the death of Khaled al-Asaad

Before he was killed by ISIS, the world had not heard Syrian scholar and head of antiquities in Palmyra, Khaled al-Asaad, but within a few hours, the English Wikipedia and the Arabic Wikipedia as well as the German Wikipedia had start-class articles. Which shows once again that “there is a deadline”. (and I’m indebted to Asaf Bartov for pointing out this WP essay in one of his presentations somewhere).

There is an article, Destruction of cultural heritage by ISIL. Where are the photos of the destroyed works? Is there anything in the public domain? There is also a category for “Monuments destroyed by ISIL“.

In the meantime, the Guardian has published photos of Palmrya, as it appeared before it was seized by the Islamicists.

And for anyone looking to flesh out Khaled’s Wikipedia articles, plenty of reliable sources have now published obits:

    • The Guardian “The archaeologist and scholar, who held a diploma in history and education from the University of Damascus, published many books and scientific texts. Among his titles are The Palmyra Sculptures and Zenobia, the Queen of Palmyra and the Orient.”
    • The Telegraph “The archaeologist had been detained and interrogated for over a month by Isil, Mr Abdulkarim told Reuters.”
    • NYT “In 1963, he was appointed director of antiquities for Palmyra as well as director of its museum, positions he held until his retirement in 2003, when his son Walid took them over.”
    • Lion_in_the_garden_of_Palmyra_Archeological_Museum,_2010-04-21The Times of Israel (citing Syrian state news agency SANA and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights) “Since falling to IS, Palmyra’s ancient site has remained intact but the militant s destroyed a lion statue in the town dating back to the 2nd century. The statue, discovered in 1975, had stood at the gates of the town museum, and had been placed inside a metal box to protect it from damage.” [Lion image on Wikimedia Commons]
    • BC News “Syrian antiquities chief Maamoun Abdulkarim told AFP that Mr Asaad’s other son Mohammed and his son-in-law Khalil actively participated in the rescue of 400 antiquities as the town was being taken over by the jihadists in May.” and here:
  • Born in Palmyra in 1934
  • Served as director of antiquities of Palmyra from 1963 to 2003 until his retirement
  • Worked with Unesco and the European Commission on Palmyra-related projects
  • Most important discovery was that of the largest part of the city’s major intersection and a number of tombs around the ruins
  • Reported to have written more than 20 books on Palmyra and the Silk Road
  • Said to be fluent in Aramaic and translated texts from the language up until 2011
  • Received honours from France, Poland and Tunisia
  • Spieigel (German)
  • Wall Street Journal ““City residents and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a U.K.-based group that monitors the conflict via a network of activists, confirmed it was Mr. Asaad’s remains. The group said he had been held by Islamic State for more than a month before he was killed. His work will live on far beyond the reach of these extremists,” Irina Bokova, director of the United Nations’ cultural agency Unesco, said Wednesday. “They murdered a great man, but they will never silence history.”Locals loyal to Islamic State accused Mr. Asaad of making contact with regime officers, the Observatory said, including his brother, a senior government security officer. Islamic State had promised to release him, it added, citing people close to Mr. Asaad. Those people called his execution a shock.