Bangladesh president signs ordinance on capital punishment in rape cases

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DHAKA: Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid on Tuesday signed an ordinance elevating the maximum punishment in rape cases to death from life imprisonment after a series of recent sexual assaults sparked nationwide protests.
The move comes a day after Bangladesh’s Cabinet approved an amendment to introduce the death penalty for rape cases.
“The President assented the cabinet decision and issued an ordinance on Women and Children Repression Prevention Act,” a presidential palace spokesman told .
The law ministry later issued a statement, saying from now on the “death penalty” instead of “lifetime rigorous imprisonment” would be the maximum punishment for rape.
Bangladesh was rocked over the weekend by an unprecedented level of protest after footage of a brutal gang assault on a woman went viral on social media. Demonstrators carried signs reading “Hang the rapists” and “No mercy to rapists”.
The changes to the law were demanded by thousands of demonstrators across the Muslim-majority nation calling for more stringent punishments for the perpetrators of sexual assaults.
Police arrested eight suspects after the video of the assault went viral more than a month after the attack occurred at the victim’s home in Noakhali.
In a separate case, another woman was allegedly gang-raped last week in a hostel in the northern district of Sylhet, leading to the arrest of several members of the student wing of the ruling party.
Protesters in the capital Dhaka and elsewhere have demanded stiffer punishments for rape, faster trials for rapists and an end to what they see as a culture of impunity.
The changes to the law were demanded by thousands of demonstrators across the Muslim-majority nation calling for more stringent punishments for the perpetrators of sexual assaults.

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