Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Girl Whipped to Death: Body exhumed for fresh post- mortem, HC asks for a new team of experts

Teenaged Hena Akter's body was exhumed last night for a fresh post-mortem in compliance with a High Court order (delivered on February 7), following a media report that attempts are being made to suppress the actual cause of her death.

The Shariatpur deputy commissioner ordered the exhumation which was supervised by an executive magistrate, after Supreme Court Registrar M Ashraful Islam informed the Shariatpur district administration about the court directive during the day.

The Daily Star published the news report on Monday raising doubts about the earlier inquest and autopsy that found no mark of injury on Hena's body.
Hena, 15, died in a hospital in Shariatpur on Jan 31, after being whipped publicly for about 50 times following a fatwa issued by some self-appointed arbitrators in her village, according to media reports and witnesses.
The girl was sentenced to 100 lashes for allegedly having an illicit relation with her married cousin Mahbub, even though her family and neighbours insisted that she had actually been raped by the man.
Deputy Attorney General ABM Altaf Hossain placed The Daily Star report before the bench of Justice Shamsuddin Chowdhury Manik and Justice Sheikh Md Zakir Hossain yesterday.
Justice Shamsuddin Chowdhury Manik, senior member of the bench, observed that according to the news report the already-done inquest and post-mortem reports appear false.
He termed the incident of fatwa against Hena tragic, saying such incident is unacceptable to any human being with conscience. The media reports published recently over the incident of fatwa against Hena cannot be false, he added.
The body of Hena should be exhumed for further post-mortem, the judge said. The bench said its order will help remove the curse of fatwa from the society.
Earlier in the day, the court received the copies of police inquest and the earlier post-mortem reports from Shariatpur.
The court ordered that a three-member team of doctors be formed to conduct the fresh post-mortem.
It ordered the Shariatpur civil surgeon to include in the team a gynaecologist, a forensic expert, and one of the two doctors of Suhrawardi Medical College and Hospital who were quoted as experts in The Daily Star report. It also asked the director of Suhrawardi Medical College and Hospital to send one of the experts to the hospital in Shariatpur.
The court asked the officials concerned to submit the new post-mortem report without any delay.
The bench also summoned the officer-in-charge of Naria Police Station; its Sub-inspector Aslam Uddin, who prepared the inquest report; doctors Nirmal Chandra Das, Rajesh Majumder, and Hosne Ara Begum, who prepared the first post-mortem report; Sultan Ahmed and a senior nurse of the hospital who attended Hena; and arbitrator Idris Sheikh, a local union parishad councillor who allegedly whipped Hena, to appear before the court at 10:30am on February 10.
The doctors and police have to appear with relevant files about the incident, the order said.
The Daily Star

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