Irem UZUN -TDO- A court in southern Bangladesh sentenced 16 people to death on Thursday for the killing of a young woman in a horrific attack earlier this year. Nusrat Jahan Rafi, 19, was set on fire on April 6 after she and her family refused to withdraw sexual harassment charges against the principal of the Islamic school she attended. Her murder caused outrage in Bangladesh and prompted huge protests demanding justice.
Among those found guilty were former members of the school's administration, teachers and pupils - 12 of the 16 having confessed to participating in the killing in which Rafi was lured on to the school's roof, doused in paraffin and set alight.
Rafi filed a complaint against Siraj Ud Doula, principal of the school, with police in March, saying he had touched her inappropriately in his office. Eleven days later, on April 6, she was lured to the roof of the madrasa in Feni, a small town south of the capital Dhaka, where she was confronted by people dressed in burqas who tried to pressure her into withdrawing her complaint. When Rafi refused she was doused in kerosene and set on fire. Prosecutors said the teenager's attackers wanted to pass the murder off as a suicide, but Rafi managed to escape and sought help. In a video statement filmed in an ambulance, Rafi, who had sustained burns to 80% of her body, identified some of her attackers. "The teacher touched me. I will fight this crime till my last breath," she said. She died five days later.
After the killing, Bangladesh government ordered 27,000 schools to set up committees to prevent sexual violence.