Nusrat Jahan Rafi, a 19-year-old student who was burnt alove in April
Nusrat Jahan Rafi, a 19-year-old student who was burnt alove in April

A Bangladesh court sentenced 16 people to death over the murder of a 19-year-old female student in April this year.

19-year-old Nusrat Jahan Rafi was burnt alive after she refused to withdraw a sexual assault complaint filed against the headteacher of the (theological) college she attended.

“The verdict proves nobody will away with murder in Bangladesh,” prosecutor Hafez Ahmed said on Thursday after the court pronounced the verdict.

Nusrat filed a police complaint in March and the police even though registered the case, however, dismissed it by terming the incident as “nothing big”.

Nusrat was lured to the rooftop of the college, where her attackers pressurised her to withdraw the complaint.

When she refused, Nushrat was tied up and set on fire.

She suffered 80 per cent burn injury and battled for five days. She died on April 10.

Police informed Nusrat was pressurised to withdraw the complaint by her classmates, who also tied her and set on fire on the directives of the college principal.

“They wanted to pass the incident as suicide but it failed through as Nushrat managed to come down with fire still on her,” Police said.

Nusrat Jahan’s murder triggered outrage across Bangladesh, highlighting an alarming rise in sexual harassment cases in the country.

Several persons took to the streets demanding justice for late Nusrat with activists saying the murder exposed “a culture of impunity surrounding sex crimes.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also promised of “stern actions” against the culprits.

The defence lawyers said they would go to the High Court and appeal against the Thursday’s judgement.

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