The Government of Bangladesh has approved an amendment that would allow the death penalty in rape cases.
According to the details, the move came after nationwide demonstrations sparked by a series of sexual assaults. The country was rocked over the weekend by an unprecedented level of protest. Demonstrators carried signs reading “Hang the rapists” and “No mercy to rapists”. In the capital Dhaka, a mock gallows was erected by protesters.
According to data at least 1,000 rapes have been reported in Bangladesh this year, but many cases go unreported because women fear they will be stigmatized. The data also showed that only 3% of cases relating to violence against women and children result in a conviction in Bangladesh, according to a 2019 report by the Women and Children Repression Prevention tribunal from five districts.
The Secretary of the cabinet division, Khandker Anwarul Islam said that the draft of the Women and Children Repression Prevention (Amendment) Bill had been approved and a provision for the death penalty was incorporated.
“Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has given the emphasis on completing trials of rape cases within the stipulated timeframe as well,” said Khandker Anwarul Islam.
Law on Rape in Bangladesh
The punishment for rape depends on the type of rape which has been committed, as per section 9 of the Suppression of Violence Against Women and Children Act 2000.
The punishment for single perpetrator rape is mandatory life imprisonment under section 9(1).
For rape followed by murder and gang rape, the punishment can be life imprisonment under section 9(2) or the death penalty under 9(3).
The punishment for attempt to rape under section 9(4) could be anything between five to ten years imprisonment.
Now the government has just changed section 9(1) and introduced the death penalty as the highest punishment instead of life imprisonment.