6 to hang for child murders in Bangladesh

Bangladesh police escorting a suspect (centre) in the high-profile murder case involving the lynching of a 13-year-old boy at a court in Khulna yesterday.
Bangladesh police escorting a suspect (centre) in the high-profile murder case involving the lynching of a 13-year-old boy at a court in Khulna yesterday.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

DHAKA • A Bangladesh court yesterday handed four men the death sentence over the brutal killing of a 13-year-old boy that provoked national outrage after video footage of the attack went viral, a lawyer said.

Another two men were ordered to hang for the torture and murder of another 13-year-old that occurred less than a month later, the prosecutor said.

In the first case, 10 people in the north-eastern city of Sylhet were found guilty of lynching Samiul Alam Rajon, a verdict that sparked cheers from hundreds of people gathered outside the courtroom.

"We're happy with the judgment. Samiul's parents are satisfied," Mr Shahidul Islam, a lawyer representing his family, said after the Metropolitan Sessions Court's decision. "I am sure the verdict will send a powerful message to all those child beaters and molesters."

Samiul, accused of stealing a bicycle, was tied to a pole on July 8 and then subjected to a brutal assault in which he pleaded for his life. An autopsy found that 64 separate injuries had been inflicted on the teenager.

A 28-minute video of the lynching, which was widely circulated after being posted on social media, prompted deep soul-searching among Bangladeshis as well as street protests to demand the perpetrators be hanged.

The lawyer told Agence France-Presse that the main accused, Kamrul Islam, was sentenced to death. Three of his friends were given the same sentence, one of them in absentia after going on the run. Another six accused were given jail sentences ranging from one year to life, he said.

Kamrul Islam fled to Saudi Arabia a day after the attack, but he was extradited after outraged members of the large Bangladeshi expatriate community tipped off police.

In the second case in the southwestern city of Khulna, a mechanic and his assistant were sentenced to death yesterday for torturing a 13-year-old former employee to death with an air compressor used for inflating tyres. Police said the employer, Mohammad Sharif, became enraged after the boy left his workshop for another job.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 09, 2015, with the headline '6 to hang for child murders in Bangladesh'. Print Edition | Subscribe