A man accused of raping a girl on false promise of marriage tied the knot with her under the supervision of Feni Jail authorities on Thursday.
The marriage ceremony, which was agreed upon by both parties, took place in presence of Executive Magistrate Moniruzzaman in the afternoon with a ‘Den Mohor’ (dower) of Tk 600,000.
Zahirul Islam Zia had an affair with the victim Bibi Zohura, who on May 17 accused her lover of raping her. Sonagazi police arrested him and pressed charges against Zia in court on June 30 in the case.
When Zia’s lawyer moved the High Court on November 1, the court agreed to grant bail on the condition that the accused marries the victim. The order reached the jail on Nov 11.
Family members of Zohura and Zia went to jail in the morning. Jail Superintendent Anowarul Karim said the marriage was conducted in presence of lawyers and other officials of the jail.
Signatures of both families were taken on a judicial stamp paper which will be sent to the High Court along with other necessary documents, he said.
Zohura expressed satisfaction at the court’s decision.
“We’re poor people. I’ve gotten justice thanks to the High Court and my rights have been established. I request everyone to pray for my family and want the swift release of my husband,” she said.
Death penalty for rape
Bangladesh has seen a spurt in rape crimes in recent months with nearly 1,000 of them, including over 200 gang rapes, recorded between January and September, according to Ain O Salish Kendra.
But the actual number of believed to be much higher since many victims choose not to report assaults fearing social stigma and their safety.
The government on Oct 13 promulgated an ordinance making death penalty the maximum punishment for rape. The move was made in the face of countrywide protests sparked by rape incidents in Sylhet and Noakhali.
On Tuesday, the 'Women and Children Repression Prevention (Amendment) Bill, 2020' was passed in the Parliament ensuring death penalty as the highest punishment for rape.
Rapists are rarely held to account in Bangladesh where the conviction rate for rape in is below 1 percent, the Human Rights Watch says.