BANGLADESH: A lady parliamentarian obstructs investigation into rape of a nine year old girl 

August 19, 2010

A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission

BANGLADESH: A lady parliamentarian obstructs investigation into rape of a nine year old girl

A young handicapped girl of nine years was raped by a man on August 2, 2010. The incident occurred at an abandoned building of Baluwa Hospital in Bhagawanpur village, under the jurisdiction of Gaibandha Sadar police station, of Gaibandha district. Despite the attempts by hundreds of villages who formed a human chain demanding inquiries into the incident and the arrest of the suspect who has been named in the complaint, the police are refusing to investigate the matter due to pressure from the ruling political party (Awami League).

The father of the girl, several other relatives and nearly four hundred villagers have made several attempts to request investigations from the police. However, they have expressed their fear to investigate as the local member of the parliament, Mahabub Ara Gini, of the Bangladesh Awami league has intervened on behalf of the suspect. Initially, the police did record a complaint made by a relative of the girl.

The father of the girl spoke of this to a lady member of the parliament, who was elected from that particular constituency, and found that she was aware of the incident. She told him this man was a party supporter whom she had to protect. The father, who also was a party supporter, mentioned that the raped girl is his daughter. To this, he received a surprised reply from the lady member of the parliament. “She is your daughter, so what”. The surprised father retorted sharply, unable to believe what the lady MP had just said. Eventually the lady told hm that she will ask the police to investigate into the matter.

Meanwhile, the family members have received threats from various groups pressuring them to abandon the complaint or face consequences. Several of the girl’s relatives and witnesses of the complaint have been threatened with death and of being expelled from their resident locations. They now live in fear.

The incident reveals the way in which the criminal justice process is hampered by political pressure. Even the rape of a minor becomes a matter of politics and the suspects are protected.

The Asian Human Rights Commission urges the authorities of Bangladesh to protect the victim, her family and relatives and to ensure credible investigations into this incident.

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About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation monitoring and lobbying human rights issues in Asia. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.

Document Type : Statement
Document ID : AHRC-STM-174-2010
Countries : Bangladesh,
Issues : Child rights, Violence against women, Women's rights,