Bangladeshis attend a protest against Nusrat Jahan Rafi's murder by being set on fire after she had reported a sexual assault. File / Munir Uz Zaman / AFP
Bangladesh police were set to file charges on Wednesday against 16 people, including the headmaster of an Islamic seminary, over the shocking murder of a 19-year-old girl burned to death.
The killing of Nusrat Jahan Rafi last month sparked protests across the South Asian nation, with the prime minister promising to prosecute all those involved.
Rafi was lured to the rooftop of the Islamic seminary she attended where her attackers asked her to withdraw a sexual harassment complaint filed with police against the head teacher.
When she refused, she was doused in kerosene and set on fire. She died five days later, triggering outrage. Her death highlighted alarming rise in sexual harassment cases in the country.
Bangladesh's Police Bureau of Investigation said they would file the chargesheet in a court in the country's south later on Wednesday against the 16 people who include two girls who were classmates of Rafi.
"They are charged under the women and children repression law and we'll recommend death penalty for all 16 accused," PBI lead investigator Mohammad Iqbal told reporters.
Iqbal said the Principal of the Sonagazi Islamia Senior Fazil Madrasa Siraj Ud Doula where Rafi was a student ordered the murder from jail.
Rafi had gone to police in late March to report the alleged sexual harassment against the teacher, and a leaked video shows the local police station chief registering her complaint but dismissing it as "not a big deal."
Iqbal said at least five people including three of Rafi's classmates, had tied her up with a scarf before setting her on fire. The plan was to pass the incident off as a case of suicide.
Rafi suffered burns to 80 per cent of her body and died in hospital on April 10. But she recorded a video before her death, repeating her allegations against the principal.
Rafi's brother Mahmudul Hasan Noman said they want a fast-track trial. "We want all the culprits to be hanged to death," he told AFP.
The head of Mahila Parishad, a women's rights group, gave a "guarded welcome" at the quick investigation of the case but said more needed to be done to end a "culture of impunity" over sexual harassment and rape cases.
"Very few rape cases end in convictions," she said.
According to the group, about 950 women were raped in Bangladesh last year.
Fahim Saleh, 33, was found unresponsive in his Manhattan home on Tuesday afternoon, an NYPD spokeswoman told AFP. "He was dismembered. His death was deemed a homicide," she said.
The victim was the child, Joshua Harmon, 8, who disappeared from Atlanta, USA, and his body was discovered in the woods.
Police believe that the three girls aged one, two and three, and two boys aged six and eight were sedated and then smothered to death either on Wednesday or Thursday.
Officers had been looking for the man since Wednesday, when an acquaintance alerted them to a video he posted on social media of himself leaving the fish at the house and then dancing around the property, Astoria Police Chief Stacy Kelly said.
The Zayed Award for Human Fraternity awarded the Community of Sant’Egidio organisation and Kenyan peace builder Shamsa Abubakar Fadhil as co-honorees of the 2023 award.
The Guinness Book of Records awarded recorded the dog, Bobi, who was born in a small village in central Portugal, the oldest dog in the world, as he reached the age of 30 years and 269 days on Saturday.
Nawal Al-Nuaimi said: “The meeting in itself is a pride, it came to multiply the joy that overwhelmed me by representing my country, the Emirates, in the most important international economic forum, by presenting part of my passion with an Emirati flavour and introducing the world to it, and what made me distraught with the intensity of joy and my tears almost flowed.”