A man was sentenced to death for killing a third grader after rape in Barishal town in 2018.
The convict was identified as Abul Kalam Azad alias Kalu, son of late Wahab Khan. Barishal Women and Children Repression Prevention Tribunal Judge Md Abu Shamim Azad announced the verdict while the convict was in the dock.
According to the case statement, Kalu kidnapped the child on March 11, 2018. He killed the victim after raping her and stuffed her body into a sack and dumped it in local graveyard. Police recovered the body after two days.
The victim’s mother filed a case at the Airport Police Station in this regard. Police pressed charges on September 30 in court. The testimonies of 10 people were recorded during the trial.
Public Prosecutor Faizul Haque called the verdict groundbreaking, saying that the convict was given death penalty for killing and raping the child, while life term imprisonment for abduction and seven year jail and fined Tk 10,000 for concealing the body.
The court also directed to give the victim’s family Tk 1.5 lakh after confiscating assets of the convict, he said.
Sexual violence against children
Sexual violence against children has become a burning issue in recent years as Bangladesh saw a spike in incidents of child rape and sexual assault on children last year, according to Bangladesh Shishu Adhikar Forum (BSAF).
At least 1,005 incidents of child rape were recorded last year, a 76.01 percent increase compared to the year before, BSAF said in its yearly report ‘State of Child Rights in Bangladesh’.
On average, about 84 children became victims of rape in every month of 2019.
BSAF said the number of incidents was higher compared to previous years. Of the victims, 133 were aged between one and six years. Most of the rapes were reported in Dhaka district. The data were collected from 15 national dailies between January and December.
Between 2015 and 2019, a total of 3,136 children fell victims to rape – 52 incidents every month on average. But verdicts in only 164 cases were delivered – 27 of them last year.
Highest punishment for rape
The increasing rate of rape incidents fuelled countrywide protests against sexual violence against women and children that prompted the government to amend the law with a provision for death penalty for rape.
The much-talked-about ‘Women and Children Repression Prevention (Amendment) Bill, 2020’ was passed in Parliament on November 17.