Rubel’s half-decomposed body was found floating under the Golam Kibria Bridge, which is currently under construction in Kushtia, on July 7. On the advice of locals, police recovered the remains of the journalist, which were sent to Kushtia General Hospital morgue for a post-mortem.
The journalist had left the office of Dainik Kushtia Khobar on the evening of July 3, telling a staffer that he would return shortly. Rubel, who was also associated with Bengali newspaper Amader Notun Samay and online portal Crime Vision BD, did not return and his mobile phone was switched off.
Rubel’s family reported his disappearance at Kushtia Model Police Station. The journalist’s wife, Iti Khatun, said she had spoken to Rubel in the afternoon of July 3, when the journalist confirmed he would return home that night.
Following Rubel’s disappearance, journalists in the district held protests to demand Rubel’s rescue, with a human chain formed in Kushtia on July 6.
A wallet, containing an identity card and cash, was recovered from the journalist’s body and used to identify the journalist.
The motive for the murder remains unknown, with local police confirming an investigation into the case is underway. Iti Khatun argued that if police had acted promptly when Rubel’s disappearance was first reported then his death may have been prevented
The number of killings and attacks on Bangladeshi journalists has continued to grow in 2022. On June 8, DBC News reporter Abdul Bari was found dead at the bank of Hatirjheel lake in the Gulshan area of Dhaka. On April 13, journalist Mohiuddin Sarkar Nayem was allegedly shot dead by drug dealers near the border with India in Cumilla city.
IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said: “The rising number of attacks on journalists and media workers in Bangladesh is concerning. Local authorities must do more to safeguard members of the media and protect press freedom. The IFJ condemns the murder of Hashibur Rahaman Rubel and calls for an immediate investigation into the case so that all perpetrators may be brought to justice.”