Bangladeshi Rapid Action Battalion personnel produce Farabi Shafiur Rahman (C), arrested over the machete murder of an atheist American blogger, during a photocall in Dhaka, Bangladesh on March 2, 2015.
Munir Uz Zaman—AFP/Getty Images
March 2, 2015 4:27 AM EST

Bangladeshi authorities have arrested a primary suspect in the murder of atheist blogger Avijit Roy.

Farabi Shafiur Rahman was taken into custody by the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, Agence France-Presse reported. He allegedly threatened the victim on social media and spoke to another individual online about killing him.

A spokesman for the RAB — the country’s elite security force that mainly counters religious insurgency — described Rahman as a “fundamentalist blogger.” A source within the agency claimed that its officials had seen messages between Rahman and another person discussing Roy’s murder.

Roy, a Bangladeshi American living in Atlanta for the past 15 years, founded the Mukto-Mona blog — a collection of liberal writings that drew the ire of many hard-liners in Muslim-majority Bangladesh.

The 42-year-old writer was assaulted by two unidentified attackers while returning from a book fair with his wife in Dhaka last week. The assailants hacked him to death with machetes. His wife survived but was grievously injured.

Write to Rishi Iyengar at

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