Dhaka court orders trial in raped, flogged girl’s death

Friday, February 11, 2011

DHAKA - A court here has ordered reopening of the case of a teenage girl who was raped and then flogged to death under a clergy’s edict last month, directing action against police and hospital staff for concealing facts and preparing false reports.

Did some genie kill Hena? the high court bench of Justice A.H.M. Shamsuddin Chowdhury Manik and Justice Sheikh Mohammed Zakir Hossain asked of the medical officer who maintained that she was completely healthy when discharged from the hospital.

Hena, daughter of a landless labourer raped by a neighbour, fell unconscious after receiving about 80 of the 100 lashes delivered under a fatwa, a religious edict organised by the wife of the alleged rapist Mahbub Khan. Hena died a day after she was discharged from the hospital.

As the medical officer read out details of injury marks on Hena, those present in the court were shocked and some shouted expletives and raised slogans in the court, the Daily Star reported Friday.

Besides reopening the case, the court asked the district police authorities to report on the role of the policemen who had failed to catch the rapist and prevent Henas public flogging.

Idris Ali Sheikh, who organised the fatwa and supervised the flogging, was arrested as he appeared in response to the court summons.

The court directed the health ministry to probe how the doctors at the hospital in Shariatpur district prepared an initial autopsy, that claimed there were no injury marks on Henas body.

The case has raised a nationwide outcry and the attorney general and other top legal officials are assisting the court.

The court was told that the police officer who filed the report of Henas rape had recorded that she was having “an affair” with the alleged rapist.

The court ordered the police to bring charges of rape, abduction, unlawful assembly, conspiracy, and torture against the accused and provide security to Hena’s family.

The bench also ordered the police to simultaneously proceed with the murder case filed by Hena’s father Darbesh Khan, who said that he had borrowed 40,000 taka ($570) for the girls treatment after the rape and flogging.

Filed under: Accidents and Disasters

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