Local Bangladeshi court awards death to 16 for setting teen on fire
Sixteen people have been sentenced to death for the murder of an 18-year-old student Nusrat Jahan Rafi in South Bangladesh. Nusrat was set on fire after she accused a teacher at an Islamic school of sexual harassment. The ruling came by a special woman and children’s tribunal months after the incident occurred in the first week of April in the southeastern district of Feni, a small town 100 miles away from Dhaka.
Nusrat was doused with kerosene and set on fire for refusing to withdraw a sexual harassment charge against her school headmaster – Siraj Ud Doula – at the Sonagazi Islamia Senior Fazil Madarsa. She suffered 80% burns and succumbed to her injuries while undergoing treatment in the hospital five days later.
The sentence came – within a hearing span of 62 working days - after 12 suspects confessed to committing the crime while Siraj kept denying the charges. The suspects said that Nusrat was taken to the rooftop of the religious school where her attackers pressurized her to withdraw the police complaint.
After being set on fire, Nusrat ran in a bid to save her life which aggravated the flames. On the way to the hospital, her brother Mahmudul Hasan Noman filmed a video in which she stated the entire incident and named some of her attackers. In the video, she was heard saying, “The teacher touched me. I will fight this crime until my last breath.”
Her death triggered protests against the oppression of women and girls in the country and drew people’s attention who demanded punishment for the guilty.