FENI : Sixteen people were sentenced to death this Thursday for burning alive a Bangladesh teenager student who refused to withdraw sexual assault charges against her head teacher.

The case highlights what activists say is a culture of impunity over sexual violence in the South Asian country of 168 million people, as well as abuse rife in around 20,000 seminaries that educate mostly poor and rural students.

Nusrat Jahan Rafi was doused in kerosene and set on fire on April 6 after she made a sexual harassment complaint against the principal of  her rural Islamic seminary.

The head teacher, who a court in the southern coastal town of Feni found had ordered the brutal killing from jail after being arrested over the harassment claim, was among those sentenced to death.

Others included activists from the ruling Awami League party and some students - including two females - who either participated  in the killing or guarded the gates of the seminary when it took place.

'' The verdict proves that nobody will get away with murder in Bangladesh. We have the rule of law,'' prosecutor Hafeez Ahmed told reporters after the verdict in a crowded courtroom. [AFP]


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