16 face death penalty for burning girl alive

Bangladesh is to charge 16 people over the murder of a teenager burned to death last month -  with each of them now facing the death penalty.

Nusrat Jahan, 18, died after a gang of girls allegedly poured kerosene over her and set her on fire on the roof of her school after she refused to withdraw a sexual harassment complaint against the head teacher.

She died in hospital five days later, sparking public outrage and mass demonstrations calling for her killers to face punishment.

The head of the Police Bureau of Investigation said the men and women arrested in connection with her murder would all be charged on Wednesday, with prosecutors seeking the death penalty for all 16.

"We will be submitting the charge sheet on Wednesday," Banaj Kumar Majumdar, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

According to Nusrat, she said she was called into her headmaster's office where she claimed he repeatedly touched her in an inappropriate manner.

She ran away and told her family of the alleged sexual harassment and reported the incident to police on the same day, according to the BBC.

It's said she was filmed by an officer on his phone as she was describing the molestation.

Nusrat was said to be visibly distressed; whereas the police officer reportedly told her the complaint was 'no big deal'.

Officers later arrested the headmaster, it is claimed.

She was forced to stay home as male pupils organised a rally for the teacher, but tried to attend an Arabic exam on April 6 by bringing her brother as protection.

There, she was lured to the roof by classmates who claimed one of her friends was being beaten up - but instead was met with a group of four or five girls wearing burkas.

They held her down, tied her up with a scarf, poured kerosene over her and set her alight before running away.

Their plan was to pass it off as a suicide, but she managed to run downstairs and and use her brother's mobile phone to record a video to name some of her attackers.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina met Nusrat's family in Dhaka and promised that every person involved in the killing would be brought to justice.

"None of the culprits will be spared from legal action," she said, according to the report.

The head of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad, a women's rights organization, said more needed to be done to ensure the safety of women in Bangladesh.

A study conducted by the group found that about 950 women were raped in Bangladesh last year.

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