by Our Correspondent in Dhaka;–
The government has in principle approved a provision of the law allowing death penalty for rape convicts, a rise from the existing life in prison, in the wake of a nationwide protest against rising incidents of sexual assaults.
The approval came on Monday at the weekly meeting of the cabinet headed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in Dhaka, said cabinet secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam.
According to the new provision that was proposed for the amendment to the Women and Children Repression Prevention Act of 2000, the rape convicts will be handed with with death or rigorous imprisonment for life and with fine.
The existing provision stipulates maximum of life in prison for rape. In case, any victim dies because of rape, the convict will capital punishment.
Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Anisul Huq said a presidential promulgation is expected on Tuesday to give immediate effect to the new provision. The ordinance will be later ratified by parliament once the session opens.
Thousands of people joined the nationwide protest that erupted last week after reports that a gang had stripped and sexually assaulted a woman in a remote southern village, and shared a video of the crime on social media.
Police arrested eight suspects after the footage went viral more than a month after the attack occurred at the victim’s home in a village of Noakhali. Many rape incidents were reported by the media when the protest was ongoing.
The students and activists who took to the streets in Dhaka and in other district towns, protested against the rising number of incidents of rape. They asked the government to introduce death penalty for rapists instead of the existing ‘life in prison’ term.
The government believes the introduction of death penalty will reduce the crimes like rape and sexual assault.
Non-governmental organization Ain o Salish Kendra reported that 975 women were raped in the first nine month of the year and 43 were killed after being attacked.