Asaduzzaman Noor (born 8 August 1991 in Gopalganj, Bangladesh), better known as Asad Noor,is an exiled Bangladeshi blogger and human rights activist.Noor is an advocate for freedom of expression and LGBT rights, who has criticised religious fundamentalism in Bangladesh.He has been prosecuted multiple times by Bangladeshi authorities for alleged blasphemy and hurting religious sentiments. He has been living in exile in India since 2019.
Activism Noor began his activism by writing to various blogs and social networks in 2013. Following his involvement with the 2013 Shahbag protests, he became a target for religious fundamentalists. Since 2015, he has been subjected to threats and intimidation by state and non-state actors for his human rights work.
In July 2020, Noor published several video blogs condemning the intimidation of Bangladesh's minority Buddhist community in Rangunia Upazila of the Chittagong District. Consequently, a local Awami League leader filed a lawsuit against Noor on 14 July 2020 under the Digital Security Act, with the charges of "hurting religious sentiments" and "running propaganda against the spirit of the liberation war."
One of Noor's video blogs presented the apparent vandalism of an under-construction Buddhist statue of a Buddhist monastery in Rangunia. Noor claimed the attackers were backed by the forest officials and the local Awami League MP because they conspired to banish the monks from the area. Following the release of Noor's videos, local Islamic groups protested against the blogger and accused him of undermining religious harmony between Muslims and Buddhists.
ICT Act Case and arrest On 25 December 2017, Noor was arrested by the immigration police of Shahjalal International Airport while trying to flee Bangladesh and was later sent to jail.
8 months imprisonment, release on bail and re-arrest Subsequently, Noor spent eight months in prison throughout 2018. In August, as he was released on bail, he faced protests from the radical Islamist group Hefazat-e-Islam Bangladesh, who demanded him to be executed. Noor was later arrested for alleged involvement in a drug trafficking case, which he claims is a fabrication.
Escape from Bangladesh In early 2019, Noor was granted bail for the second time. Fearing for his safety after his release, Noor secretly fled Bangladesh in February. He has been living underground outside Bangladesh ever since and continues his online activism on Facebook and YouTube.
Harassment of his family members On 18 July 2020, plainclothes policemen picked up six of Noor's family members from his hometown of Amtoly in Barguna district. They were taken to Amtoly police station, where his father was forced to call Noor and ask him to remove all video posts from his Facebook page, leading international human rights organizations like Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Asian Human Rights Commission and Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights to raise their concern about the incident.