Men sentenced to death for schoolgirl rape

Five men have been sentenced to hang for raping a schoolgirl in Bangladesh - just two days after the death penalty was brought in for sex fiends.

The prisoners - who gang raped a 15-year-old girl in 2012 - will now be put to death under the hastily drafted law.

The sentence was given by a special tribunal in the northern district of Tangail, which was set up to deal with cases of abuse against women and children.

 

Prosecutor Nasim Ahmed said the rape victim's boyfriend took her to a riverside where she was raped by him and two friends.

Two other men then joined in the vile attack.

Ahmed told reporters: "All five were found guilty and have been sentenced to death."

They are the first to be sentenced to hang since the government introduced the death penalty for rape earlier this week.

Until the new punishment was introduced, the harshest penalty for a single rape offender was life imprisonment.

Ministers rushed through a new law in days - while parliament was not sitting - amid nationwide outrage at video of a woman being tortured and raped by eight men.

Last week, demonstrations broke out across the country after harrowing footage of a group of men stripping and attacking the woman went viral on social media.

 

DEATH PENALTY

Anger over the issue of rape has been simmering since last month - when members of the ruling party's student wing, Bangladesh Chhatra League, were arrested and charged in a separate gang rape case.

Protesters in Dhaka and elsewhere in the country have demanded harsher punishments and faster trials for perpetrators of sex crimes.

According to activists in Bangladesh, just three per cent of rape cases end in convictions.

Now if convicted, rapists can be punished by the death penalty, because of the country's cabinet decision.

 

Ain-o-Salish Kendra, a women's rights group, said 889 rapes, including hundreds of gang rapes, occurred between January and August this year.

Despite the harsher punishment, some have said that this won't stop violence against women - but will instead increase it.

Amnesty International said: "This regressive step is a fig leaf that deflects attention from the lack of real action to address the appalling brutality faced by so many Bangladeshi women.

"Executions perpetuate violence, they don't prevent it."

This article originally appeared on the Sun and was reproduced here with permission

Originally published as Men sentenced to death for schoolgirl rape



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