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Friday, 11 February 2011

Hena Begum, Bangladeshi teen, dies after public lashings

By News DeskGlobalPost Editors Published: February 2, 2011

A group of women and a child gather together at a village some 350 kilometeres southwest of Dhaka, March 31, 2009. (Munir Uz Zaman/AFP/Getty Images):
A 14-year-old girl in Bangladesh, Hena Begum, died after allegedly being raped by her 40-year-old cousin and punished with a public lashing.

The girl was reportedly raped Sunday by her married cousin and then accused of having an affair with him. His family members beat her, and a village arbitration sentenced her to 100 lashings under Islamic Shariah law.

She fell unconscious after 80 lashings and was taken to the hospital, where she died.

"What sort of justice is this? My daughter has been beaten to death in the name of justice. If it had been a proper court then my daughter would not have died," Dorbesh Khan, the father of Hena Begum, told the BBC.

BBC reports that four people including a Muslim cleric have since been arrested. The district superintendent of police is looking for an additional 14 people involved in the case, including a local teacher.

The High Court outlawed Shariah law punishment last year, but that has not stopped the practice or the resulting fatalities. A 40-year-old woman died in December after being caned for allegedly having an affair with her stepson.

The High Court has demanded that district officials explain how they did not protect the 14-year-old girl from being whipped, reports Dhaka's Daily Star.

"The deputy commissioner, the superintendent of police of Shariatpur and the thana nirbahi officer of Naria upazila — where the incident took place — will have to report to the HC in 15 days how it happened although the court (HC) had eight months ago declared fatwa illegal and a punishable offense," it states.

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