Bangladesh’s high court ordered local authorities to find and protect a 16-year-old girl who received 101 lashes last month as punishment for becoming pregnant after she was raped last year. According to CNS News, the high court ruled in August that authorities must investigate punishments carried out outside of the judicial system after locally-issued fatwas resulted in several women being flogged, including “one who spoke to a man from a different community, another who filed a rape complaint, and a third who refused sexual advances made by a relative.”
In the current case, the girl was sentenced by village leaders to 101 lashes and her father was fined and warned that their family would be isolated if they refused to pay, according to The Daily Star. The girl reportedly was flogged on January 17th and collapsed and fainted during the beating.
The rape was discovered only after the girl was found to be seven months pregnant one month after being married off to a man from a neighboring village. The girl is now divorced and obtained an abortion. Her rapist, Enamul Mia of neighboring village Gabbari, was pardoned by the village council.
Mohammad Ashrafuzzaman of the Asian Human Rights Commission told CNS News that instances of village justice “becomes possible in [a] country where the basic rule-of-law institutions are completely dysfunctional and reluctant to provide justice to the ordinary people.” He also said that “shari’a provisions (fatwas) are being abused to facilitate the influential persons to do injustice to the poor and vulnerable groups, especially the women, in order to retain or increase their so-called power.”