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post #1 of 56 (permalink) Old Mar 31st, 2011, 11:55 AM Thread Starter
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When a Girl Is Executed … for Being Raped

March 30, 2011, 3:15 pm

When a Girl Is Executed … for Being Raped

By NICHOLAS KRISTOF

We’re all focused right now on Libya and budget battles at home, but this story from Bangladesh just broke my heart and outraged me — and offers a reminder of the daily human rights struggles of so many women and girls in villages around the world. A 14-year-old Bangladeshi girl, Hena,allegedly was ambushed when she went to an outdoor toilet, gagged, beaten and raped by an older man in her village (who was actually her cousin). They were caught by wife of the alleged rapist, and the wife then beat Hena up. An imam at a local mosque issued a fatwa saying that Hena was guilty of adultery and must be punished, and a village makeshift court sentenced Hena to 100 lashes in a public whipping.

Her last words were protestations of innocence. An excellent CNN blog post, based on interviews with family members, says that the parents “had no choice but to mind the imam’s order. They watched as the whip broke the skin of their youngest child and she fell unconscious to the ground.”

Hena collapsed after 70 lashes and was taken to the hospital. She died a week later, by some accounts because of internal bleeding and a general loss of blood. The doctors recorded her death as a suicide. (Women and girls who are raped are typically expected to commit suicide, to spare everyone the embarrassment of an honor crime.) I’ve covered enough of these kinds of stories to know that it’s difficult to know exactly what happened unless you’re on the scene talking to everyone who was there; maybe the imam has a different version of events. But all accounts that I’ve seen such that this was a brutal attack on a helpless girl in the name of sharia and justice.

Fortunately, Bangladesh has a robust civil society, which has reacted with outrage to the case. A court ordered the body exhumed after word leaked out, and an examination revealed severe injuries. Lawsuits are now underway against the doctors who had called her death a suicide, and several people have been rounded up — including the alleged rapist. The Bangladesh press is on the case. But Hena’s family is under police protection because of concern that other villagers will take revenge at them for getting the imam and others in trouble.

Let’s hope that the public reaction and punishments are so strong that the word goes out to all of Bangladesh’s villages that such misogynist fatwas are not only immoral but also illegal. And that the crime lies not in being raped, but in raping.

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post #2 of 56 (permalink) Old Mar 31st, 2011, 12:05 PM Thread Starter
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Re: When a Girl Is Executed … for Being Raped

Only 14, Bangladeshi girl charged with adultery was lashed to death

By Farid Ahmed and Moni Basu, CNN
March 29, 2011 -- Updated 2309 GMT (0709 HKT)

Shariatpur, Bangladesh (CNN) -- Hena Akhter's last words to her mother proclaimed her innocence. But it was too late to save the 14-year-old girl.

Her fellow villagers in Bangladesh's Shariatpur district had already passed harsh judgment on her. Guilty, they said, of having an affair with a married man. The imam from the local mosque ordered the fatwa, or religious ruling, and the punishment: 101 lashes delivered swiftly, deliberately in public.

Hena dropped after 70.

Bloodied and bruised, she was taken to hospital, where she died a week later.

Amazingly, an initial autopsy report cited no injuries and deemed her death a suicide. Hena's family insisted her body be exhumed. They wanted the world to know what really happened to their daughter.

Sharia: illegal but still practiced

Hena's family hailed from rural Shariatpur, crisscrossed by murky rivers that lend waters to rice paddies and lush vegetable fields.

Hena was the youngest of five children born to Darbesh Khan, a day laborer, and his wife, Aklima Begum. They shared a hut made from corrugated tin and decaying wood and led a simple life that was suddenly marred a year ago with the return of Hena's cousin Mahbub Khan.

Mahbub Khan came back to Shariatpur from a stint working in Malaysia. His son was Hena's age and the two were in seventh grade together.

Khan eyed Hena and began harassing her on her way to school and back, said Hena's father. He complained to the elders who run the village about his nephew, three times Hena's age.

The elders admonished Mahbub Khan and ordered him to pay $1,000 in fines to Hena's family. But Mahbub was Darbesh's older brother's son and Darbesh was asked to let the matter fade.

Many months later on a winter night, as Hena's sister Alya told it, Hena was walking from her room to an outdoor toilet when Mahbub Khan gagged her with cloth, forced her behind nearby shrubbery and beat and raped her.

Hena struggled to escape, Alya told CNN. Mahbub Khan's wife heard Hena's muffled screams and when she found Hena with her husband, she dragged the teenage girl back to her hut, beat her and trampled her on the floor.

The next day, the village elders met to discuss the case at Mahbub Khan's house, Alya said. The imam pronounced his fatwa. Khan and Hena were found guilty of an illicit relationship. Her punishment under sharia or Islamic law was 101 lashes; his 201.

Mahbub Khan managed to escape after the first few lashes.

Darbesh Khan and Aklima Begum had no choice but to mind the imam's order. They watched as the whip broke the skin of their youngest child and she fell unconscious to the ground.

"What happened to Hena is unfortunate and we all have to be ashamed that we couldn't save her life," said Sultana Kamal, who heads the rights organization Ain o Shalish Kendro.

Bangladesh is considered a democratic and moderate Muslim country, and national law forbids the practice of sharia. But activist and journalist Shoaib Choudhury, who documents such cases, said sharia is still very much in use in villages and towns aided by the lack of education and strong judicial systems.

The Supreme Court also outlawed fatwas a decade ago, but human rights monitors have documented more than 500 cases of women in those 10 years who were punished through a religious ruling. And few who have issued such rulings have been charged.

The government needs to enact a specific law to deal with such perpetrators responsible for extrajudicial penalty in the name of Islam.

--Sultana Kamal, head of rights organization Ain o Shalish Kendro.
RELATED TOPICS
Bangladesh
Sharia Law
Human Rights Policy
Last month, the court asked the government to explain what it had done to stop extrajudicial penalty based on fatwa. It ordered the dissemination of information to all mosques and madrassas, or religious schools, that sharia is illegal in Bangladesh.

"The government needs to enact a specific law to deal with such perpetrators responsible for extrajudicial penalty in the name of Islam," Kamal told CNN.

The United Nations estimates that almost half of Bangladeshi women suffer from domestic violence and many also commonly endure rape, beatings, acid attacks and even death because of the country's entrenched patriarchal system.

Hena might have quietly become another one of those statistics had it not been for the outcry and media attention that followed her death on January 31.

'Not even old enough to be married'

Monday, the doctors responsible for Hena's first autopsy faced prosecution for what a court called a "false post-mortem report to hide the real cause of Hena's death."

Public outrage sparked by that autopsy report prompted the high court to order the exhumation of Hena's body in February. A second autopsy performed at Dhaka Medical College Hospital revealed Hena had died of internal bleeding and her body bore the marks of severe injuries.

Police are now conducting an investigation and have arrested several people, including Mahbub Khan, in connection with Hena's death.

"I've nothing to demand but justice," said Darbesh Khan, leading a reporter to the place where his daughter was abducted the night she was raped.

He stood in silence and took a deep breath. She wasn't even old enough to be married, he said, testament to Hena's tenderness in a part of the world where many girls are married before adulthood. "She was so small."

Hena's mother, Aklima, stared vacantly as she spoke of her daughter's last hours. She could barely get out her words. "She was innocent," Aklima said, recalling Hena's last words.

Police were guarding Hena's family earlier this month. Darbesh and Aklima feared reprisal for having spoken out against the imam and the village elders.

They had meted out the most severe punishment for their youngest daughter. They could put nothing past them.

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post #3 of 56 (permalink) Old Mar 31st, 2011, 12:25 PM
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Re: When a Girl Is Executed … for Being Raped

Beyond disgusting, I have no words for this.

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post #4 of 56 (permalink) Old Mar 31st, 2011, 12:27 PM
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Re: When a Girl Is Executed … for Being Raped

Sharia Law,coming to your countries in a few years.
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post #5 of 56 (permalink) Old Mar 31st, 2011, 01:14 PM
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Re: When a Girl Is Executed … for Being Raped

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Originally Posted by currie84 View Post
Sharia Law,coming to your countries in a few years.
Ohhh I know who you are, you used to be an Ivanovic fan on your previous account. Urgh I forgot your name, maybe Kart might help me there?
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post #6 of 56 (permalink) Old Mar 31st, 2011, 09:28 PM
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Re: When a Girl Is Executed … for Being Raped

This is revolting.

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post #7 of 56 (permalink) Old Mar 31st, 2011, 09:36 PM
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Re: When a Girl Is Executed … for Being Raped

It is terribly sad that an Imam's fatwa can be so important. What if the Imam is crazy or stupid?
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post #8 of 56 (permalink) Old Mar 31st, 2011, 09:45 PM
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Re: When a Girl Is Executed … for Being Raped

Such is the madness of religion and in particular, regretfully of branches of Islam.

I increasingly think there is a liberal pro-women position which is willing to say enough is enough with regards to some who follow Islam.

I reject the conservative western view that merely replaces Islamic dogma with Christian dogma which has a brutal and miserable history all of it's own.

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post #9 of 56 (permalink) Old Mar 31st, 2011, 11:13 PM
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Re: When a Girl Is Executed … for Being Raped

Revolting part of the world.

These laws in Muslim countries are sickening and disgusting.
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post #10 of 56 (permalink) Old Mar 31st, 2011, 11:56 PM
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Re: When a Girl Is Executed … for Being Raped

Fucking disgusting.

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post #11 of 56 (permalink) Old Apr 1st, 2011, 01:57 AM
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Re: When a Girl Is Executed … for Being Raped

I knew it would make me sick to read this. I don't even know where to begin to write anything...

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post #12 of 56 (permalink) Old Apr 1st, 2011, 02:48 AM
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Re: When a Girl Is Executed … for Being Raped

It's probably wrong but I hope they get killed.
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post #13 of 56 (permalink) Old Apr 1st, 2011, 05:37 AM
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Re: When a Girl Is Executed … for Being Raped

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Originally Posted by Halardfan View Post
Such is the madness of religion and in particular, regretfully of branches of Islam.

I increasingly think there is a liberal pro-women position which is willing to say enough is enough with regards to some who follow Islam.

I reject the conservative western view that merely replaces Islamic dogma with Christian dogma which has a brutal and miserable history all of it's own.
It's really ignorant to group all religions together just because the acts and practices of one. I understand there's numerous posters on this board who have strong feelings against religion, good for you all. But's really obnoxious that you guys feel you have to tell the rest of us how you feel about religion 24/7. This is not to you in perticular, but it's just something that's been bugging me for a while.

Meanwhile, this is a really sad and fucked up story. But in that part of the world, this probably isn't too abnormal.

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post #14 of 56 (permalink) Old Apr 1st, 2011, 06:08 AM
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Re: When a Girl Is Executed … for Being Raped

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But in that part of the world, this probably isn't too abnormal.
Which is even sadder and more fucked up.
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post #15 of 56 (permalink) Old Apr 1st, 2011, 07:41 AM
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Re: When a Girl Is Executed … for Being Raped

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Originally Posted by young_gunner913 View Post
It's really ignorant to group all religions together just because the acts and practices of one. I understand there's numerous posters on this board who have strong feelings against religion, good for you all. But's really obnoxious that you guys feel you have to tell the rest of us how you feel about religion 24/7. This is not to you in perticular, but it's just something that's been bugging me for a while.

Meanwhile, this is a really sad and fucked up story. But in that part of the world, this probably isn't too abnormal.
Not just one, take the Catholic church for example, and episode after episode of grim self-serving policies and ruined lives.


The horrors of recent events in Japan marked a moment of change for me. Most of the time I'd bitten my tongue on religious matters. But in the face of what happened to Japan, Im determined to challenge the fiction of a benevolent God, such was the cruelty and horror of events. I'm still waiting for any way a person of faith can explain those events.

Truth is more important than so-called respect.

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Last edited by Halardfan; Apr 1st, 2011 at 08:13 AM.
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