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16 People Sentenced To Death For Setting Student On Fire After She Accused Principal Of Sexual Harassment

Nusrat Jahan Rafi, 19 at the time of her death, was murdered in April 2019 after refusing to withdraw a complaint of attempted rape against her school principal.

After insisting she would not withdraw the complaint, Jahan was lured to the roof of her madrasa and doused with kerosene. She was set on fire and killed.

On October 24, 16 people were sentenced to death because of their role in the murder, including Jahan’s principal, who police believe ordered the attack.

After the sentence had been passed, public prosecutor Hafez Ahmed commented:

“The judgment proves that no one is above the law.”

Defense lawyers tried to claim that Jahan had committed suicide, but the jury did not believe them.

Giasuddin Nannu, a lawyer for the defense, says they will appeal the ruling in a higher court.

Jahan’s death inspired numerous protests as people called for justice. 

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina even visited her family and promised someone would pay for Jahan’s death.

For Jahan’s family, however, the ordeal is far from over.

Her mother, Shirin Akhtar, told reporters after the sentence was passed:

“I can’t forget her for a moment. I still feel the pain that she went through.” 

Jahan’s brother is seeking protection against further illegal retribution.

“We live in fear. We were threatened even today in the courtroom.”

Bangladesh is currently in the midst of a dramatic rise in the reporting of rapes, with 217 in the month of September alone. Still many more go unreported due to women fearing for their own safety.

This ruling should send a message that the days when rapists could commit their crimes without consequences is ending.

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Have you listened to the first season of George Takei’s podcast, ‘Oh Myyy Pod!‘?

In season one we explored the racially charged videos that have taken the internet by storm.

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Here’s one of our favorite episodes from season one. Enjoy!

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Written by Collin Gossel

Collin Gossel is a writer and comedian living in Brooklyn, New York, but there are nights when he looks up at the stars and wistfully thinks to himself “there’s got to be more out there…” You can catch Collin improvising new musicals every Tuesday night at the Magnet Theater’s Musical Megawatt, or follow his unfiltered thoughts on Twitter and Instagram @CollinGossel.--