16 people sentenced to death in the same case of murder in Bangladesh

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Nusrat Jahan Rafi was burnt alive in April after refusing to withdraw a sexual harassment complaint against the head teacher of the seminary she attended. Rafi had gone to police in late March to report the sexual harassment. After she was doused in kerosene and set on fire at the order of the accused man. She suffered burns to 80 per cent of her body and died in hospital five days later. Protesters in the capital Dhaka staged days of demonstrations seeking “exemplary punishment” for the killers after her death. Activists said the murder exposed a culture of impunity surrounding sex crimes against women and children.

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The murder also put pressure on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to do more to protect women, with her government ordering some 27,000 schools to set up committees to prevent sexual violence. Prosecutions are rare in cases of rape and sexual assault. “We are happy with the judgment,” public prosecutor Hafez Ahmed told media. “We hope it will send a serious message to the perpetrators and collaborators of sexual violence,” the head of a woman’s rights group in Bangladesh said.

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