Dhaka, Oct 15 ( efe-epa).- A Bangladesh court on Thursday sentenced five people to death for raping and hurting a girl in central Tangail district in 2012.
Tangail’s Women and Children Repression Prevention Tribunal judge Khaleda Yasmin handed the verdict just two days after the Bangladesh government amended a law to introduce the death penalty for rape.
Public prosecutor Nasimul Akter, however, told EFE that the conviction in the rape case came under an old provision of the law that stipulated death sentence for causing death or injury in a sexual assault.
The death penalty as punishment for rape came into effect on Tuesday in Bangladesh, following days of mass protests against sexual assault, while human rights organizations such as Amnesty International (AI) criticized the move.
The amendment to the Prevention of Cruelty to Women and Children Act increases punishment for rape to the death penalty or imprisonment for life from the earlier life imprisonment.
“This conviction came under clause 9 (3) of the law. It had the provision of death sentence already,” said prosecutor Akter.
According to the prosecutor, the victim was abducted by an accused in January 2012 and was proposed for marriage.
After she dismissed the proposal, three people raped, leaving her unconscious.
She called her brother from a telephone shop later. A case was filed with Bhuapur police station of the district on the same day and one of the accused confessed to his involvement, said the prosecutor.
The court also fined each convict taka 100,000 ($1,175 approximately), the prosecutor said.
The conviction in the rape case came amid countrywide protests in the past two weeks over rape and violence against women.
Protests began on Monday last week, a day after a video of a woman being sexually abused and assaulted by a group of men in the southern district of Noakhali came to light.
Although the event took place in early September, the video, which quickly went viral and which was ordered to be taken down a court, had been shared the day before the start of the protests by one of the accused.
According to rights group Ain O Salish Kendra, 975 women were raped in Bangladesh between January and September this year, and 208 of them were cases of gang rape.
Among the victims, 43 were killed after rape while another 12 committed suicide.
Last week, Amnesty reported that only 3.5 percent of cases filed between 2001 and July 2020 under the Prevention of Oppression Against Women and Children Act 2000 Act had resulted in court judgments, and only 0.37 percent of them ended in convictions. EFE-EPA