Bangladesh to charge 16 people with murder of Nusrat Jahan Rafi who was burned to death

Left to right: Nusrat Jahan Rafi and her burnt deceased body in hospital.

Bangladeshi police will charge 16 people, including the headteacher of a madrassa, with the murder of a 19-year-old student who was burned to death.

The murder Nusrat Jahan Rafi in April sparked protests across Bangladesh, with the prime minister vowing to prosecute all the perpetrators.

Nusrat was led to the rooftop of the madrassa she attended in her hometown of Feni, where the perpetrators asked her to withdraw a sexual harassment complaint filed with police against the headteacher of the Islamic seminary.

After she refused, kerosene was poured on her and she was set on fire.

Nusrat died five days later, and her death highlighted the increasing number of sexual harassment cases in Bangladesh.

The Police Bureau of Investigation (PBI) said they will file the chargesheet in a court on Wednesday 5 June against 16 people, including two women in the same class as Rafi.

The PBI’s lead investigator, Mohammad Iqbal, said: “They are charged under the women and children repression law and we will recommend the death penalty for all 16 accused.”

Mr Iqbal said that Siraj Ud Doula, the headteacher of the Sonagazi Islamia Senior Fazil Madrasa, where Nusrat was studying, ordered the murder from prison.

Nusrat went to the police in March to report the alleged sexual harassment against the headteacher and a leaked video shows the chief of the local police station registering her complaint while dismissing it as “not a big deal”.

Mr Iqbal added that at least five people had tied her up with a scarf before setting her on fire, as they tired passing the death of as suicide.

Nusrat suffered 80% burns to her body and she died in hospital on Wednesday 10 April.

She recorded a video message before her death, reaffirming her allegations against the headteacher of the madrassa.

Nusrat’s brother, Mahmudul Hasan Noman, who wants a fast-track trial, said “We want all the culprits to be hanged to death.”

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