Crime & Justice

Death penalty for rapists comes into effect in Bangladesh amid criticism

Dhaka, Oct 13 (efe-epa).- Death penalty as punishment for rape came into effect on Tuesday in Bangladesh, following days of mass protests over sexual assault in the country, while the move has been criticized by human rights organizations such as Amnesty International (AI).

The government’s decision came into effect after the ordinance was formulated by Bangladesh President Md. Abdul Hamid and published in the official gazette, his press secretary Joynal Abedin confirmed to EFE.

The amendment to the Prevention of Cruelty to Women and Children Act increases punishment for rape to death penalty or imprisonment for life from the earlier life imprisonment.

“Executions perpetuate violence, they don’t prevent it. Instead of seeking vengeance, the authorities must focus on ensuring justice for the victims of sexual violence including through delivering the long-term changes that would stop this epidemic of violence,” AI’s South Asia Researcher Sultan Mohammed Zakaria said in a statement.

The rights group urged the Bangladeshi authorities to ensure that women and girls are protected and that they feel safe coming forward and reporting crimes.

“Perpetrators must be prosecuted and held accountable and the impunity for these horrific crimes must come to an end-but through fair proceedings and without resort to the death penalty,” said Zakaria.

Bangladesh witnessed several smaller demonstrations on Tuesday compared to those recorded over the past week, as people protested the ineffectiveness of measures against sexual harassment and rape.

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


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