Body of girl raped, whipped to be exhumed

Monday, February 7, 2011

DHAKA - The body of a teenaged girl who was raped and whipped more than 100 times following a fatwa by a Muslim cleric last month is to be exhumed, the Dhaka High Court ordered Monday.

The court ordered a fresh probe after a police inquest and autopsy discounted any marks on the body of Hena, 14, contradicting media reports and eyewitness accounts which suggested rape and whipping.

The judge also ordered formation of a three-member body of doctors and forensic experts to conduct a further autopsy as the reports of police inquest and the earlier autopsy, as reported in The Daily Star Monday, failed to convince it.

The court summoned the police officer who prepared the inquest report, the doctors and a senior nurse who attended on Hena in the hospital where she succcumbed to her injuries.

Idris Sheikh, a local Union Parishad councillor who allegedly whipped Hena, was also summoned, Star Online reported.

A bench of Justice A.H.M. Shamsuddin Chowdhury Manik and Justice Sheikh Md. Zakir Hossain passed the order, taking suo moto cognizance of the newspasper report saying: “Police, post-mortem miss injury marks.”

The report alleged that neither the police inquest nor the autopsy found any injury marks on Hena’s body though the national media, quoting numerous witnesses, had reported she had been whipped to death.

According to witnesses, Hena was whipped at least 50 times a day after she was raped allegedly by her 40-year-old cousin Mahbub and physically tortured by Mahbub’s wife and in-laws Jan 23.

The next day, the Imam of a local mosque, Saifullah, passed a fatwa for whipping the girl 101 times and Mahbub 200 times. He also fined Mahbub Tk 50,000.

The high court had about eight months ago declared the issuing of fatwas illegal and a cognisable offence.

Bangladesh is an Islamic republic with a nearly 90 percent Muslim population.

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