Bangladesh: 16 People face death sentence after setting a 19-Year-old girl on Fire

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BY LILIAN MUNTHEU – A court in Bangladesh has sentenced 16 people to death after being found guilty in the murder of a student in Feni who accused her headteacher of sexually harassing her.


On April 16th, 2019, a 19-year-old Nusrat Jahan Rafi was set on fire in the most brutal way in an attempt to quiet her for filing a sexual harassment case against her madrasa headteacher.

With support from her parents, Nusrat walked into the police station on the 27th of March to report her headteacher, Siraj Ud Doula, for sexually harassing her. Unfortunately for Nasir, what followed the next few days could not have shocked the world more.


Four days after Siraj’s arrest, some of his associates, Shahabat Hussein Shamim, Nuruddin and several others went to see him in prison. Siraj is said to have instructed them to put pressure on Nusrat’s family so she could withdraw her case. However, their attempts to pressure her bore no fruits as Nusrat stood her ground.

So Shahadat and his associated went back to isist the headteacher in prison on 3rd of April. ‘’Siraj asked them to put more pressure and if necessary set her afire’’ said PBI chief.


Shahadat, who owns a mobile-credit recharge shop at Bhuiya Bazar, bought one liter of kerosene from a shop at around on 5th of April and carried it home.

On the 6th of April, according to the PBI, Siraj’s associates entered the madrasa between 7.00 am and 7.30 am. As planned, they brought the kerosene poured in a glass and put it a plastic bag and four pairs of gloves that were kept in a room on the 3rd floor of the cyclone center.

The then split up and stood in strategic positions around the madrasa compound to make sure no one entered the cyclone center.


Nusrat came to school on that day ready to sit for her exam. No sooner had she entered the madrasa than one of Siraj’s supporters, Poppy, told her that one of her friends was being beaten in the cyclone rooftop.

Nusrat left her belongings in the exam room hallway and ran to check on her friend. Poppy was right behind her. She stopped her on the 2nd floor and asked her to withdraw her charges against the headteacher but Nusrat refused. As they climbed the stairs to the rooftop, Shahadat, Jubayer, Jabeb and Moni followed from the 3rd floor.

They threatened her, asking her to withdraw the case. ‘’they also told her to sign a piece of paper but she refused.’’ Said PBI chief. Shahadat then gaged Nusrat as Jabed and Jubayer tore her scarf in two and bound her legs and hands.

Jabed then brought the kerosene and poured it all over Nusrat. Following Shahadat’s instructions, Jabed struck a match and set Nusrat on fire. They then hurried away to try and cover their tracks.

Nusrat managed to free her hands from the burned scarf and came down crying for for help. She was later taken to the hospital but sadly with more than 75% burns on her body she succumbed to her death at the burn unit of Dhaka Medical College on the 10th of April.

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