Dhaka – Sixteen people have been awarded capital punishment for burning a teenage girl to death at an Islamic school in eastern Feni district six months ago after she had accused the headmaster of sexual assault, officials said on Tuesday.
Judge Mamunur Rashid of a special tribunal dealing with crimes related to prevention of women and children repression pronounced the verdict in a crowded courtroom in Feni district for the brutal murder of Nusrat Jahan Rafi.
Rafi was set to fire at the rooftop of Sonagazi Islamia Madrasa after she refused to withdraw a case filed against Siraj Ud Dawla, the headmaster of the religious school on April 6. The 19-year old girl died at a hospital in Dhaka sparking nationwide protest to demand capital punishment of the perpetrators of the crime.
Dawla, who plotted the killing from the jail after he was arrested, and his associates executed the plan in a way so that they could establish that the girl had committed suicide by setting herself on fire.
But the investigators revealed that Rafi was taken by two classmates to the rooftop of the madrassa where the accused asked her to withdraw the case against headmaster Dawla.
When she refused, a group of five people who were at the rooftop poured kerosene on her and set her on fire, one investigator said adding that five of the accused were directly involved in the murder while the others helped them carry out their plan.
Investigators had sought the death penalty for all of them. The court cross-examined 87 witnesses from both defence and prosecution sides after the trial began in June with the indictment of 16 accused.
The grieved family of Rafi expressed satisfaction after the verdict was pronounced.
Mahmudul Hasna Noman, eldest brother of the victim who filed the case with local police station Sonagazi, told reporters that they have got the justice. “But we will not be in peace until the killers are executed,” he said.
Rafi’s father AKM Musa expressed gratefulness to the government and the investigators for speedily completing the entire process of trial.