Statement on Pabna Verdict (Bangladesh)

Judge Sentences perpetrators to life imprisonment in Pabna rape case (Bangladesh)

GHRD statement

On 13th March 2015, a 20-year-old girl belonging to the minority Hindu community was gang-raped in Pabna, Bangladesh. The victim was abducted and taken to a nearby jungle, where she was threatened with a knife and raped by the perpetrators. The perpetrators had warned her that they would kill her and her parents in case she approached the police.

The incident generated widespread attention and the case was investigated by Global Human Rights Defence (GHRD) and its local partner Research and Empowerment Organization (REO). The organizations constantly monitored the developments in the case and also provided aid to the victim and her family.

GHRD and REO identified that the authorities are not investigating the case and held protests to raise awareness about the problem. A protest was held wherein a human chain was created along with student volunteers. This pressurized the authorities to initiate action. GHRD and REO also began lobbying and advocacy efforts in Bangladesh to seek responsibility from the authorities.

After a series of protests, the police authorities finally registered the First Investigation Report (FIR) and arrested the perpetrators, Mohammed Farid Hossain (27 years) and Mohammed Hafizul (24 years). On 28th October 2018, the trial court sentenced the accused to life imprisonment. The verdict was delivered by Justice Owarul Islam.

GHRD welcomes the judgement of the Court and appreciates the fact that the law has been enforced by the authorities. GHRD would like to thank all the members of the civil society who have contributed to ensuring that the members of the religious minority are also provided access to justice.

GHRD has been also been involved in rehabilitation activities on the ground so that the victims can continue living a dignified life in society. The victim in the Pabna case has been successfully rehabilitated and is currently working with GHRD’s local partner in Bangladesh, REO.