The verdict was issued by a court in Feni, south-east Bangladesh. Nusrat Jahan Rafi, 19, broke the silence on the phenomenon of sexual abuse within religious schools. The condemned include the president of the madrassa, her killer.
Dhaka (AsiaNews / Agencies) - A Bangladesh court has ruled the death sentence for all 16 defendants in the trial for the murder of a student who reported rapes within the Islamic madrassas. The verdict was issued this morning by the Women's and Children Repression Prevention Tribunal of Feni, in the Chittagong division (south-east of the country). The judges also imposed a fine of 100,000 taka each (just over 1,000 euros).
Among those sentenced to death, there is also the president of the madrassa, Siraj Ud Doula, the perpetrator of the murder of the student, Nusrat Jahan Rafi. The 19-year-old student was raped by the principal of her school at Feni, who then demanded the withdrawal of the complaint. Faced with the young woman's refusal, the man attracted her with the deception to the roof of the school and set her on fire. She died after four days of agony on 10 April.
In addition to the principal, the accused are Ruhul Amin, deputy principal of the madrassa and president of the Awami League in the sub-district of Sonagazi; AL Maksudul Alam, secretary of the sub-district; teachers Abdul Kader and Afsar Uddin: students Saifur Rahman Mohammad Zubayer, Javed Hossain aka Shakhawat Hossain, Kamrunnahar Moni, Umme Sultana Poppy, Abdur Rahim Sharif, Iftekhar Uddin Rana, Imran Hossain Mamun, Mohiuddin Shakil, Mohammad Shamim, Nuruddin and Shahadat Hossain Shamim. All, writes the prosecutor Hafez Ahmed, "are directly or indirectly guilty of involvement in the extortion of money and sexual harassment".
The case of Nusrat has brought to light the phenomenon of sexual abuse suffered within Koranic schools at the hands of principals and teachers. The violence is transversal and affects both boys and girls, especially those from poor families who otherwise would not have the means to let their children study. The madrassas in fact, although not at the level of other schools, provide a minimum level of education and are completely free. After the student, other young people - especially former students - found the courage to denounce their abusers, often becoming victims of retaliation and intimidation.