Rights orgs condemn bail of rape accused after marrying victim

Rape Law Reform Coalition, an alliance of 17 human rights organisations in Bangladesh, demands urgent investigation into an incident, in which a rape accused secured bail after getting married to the 15-year-old rape victim.

The coalition issued a press release on May 4 in this regard.

The RLRC also expressed deep concern over the incident that took place in Khulna district jail on April 10.

In the release, the RLRC said, “The Child Marriage Restraint Act, 2017 criminalises marriage of girls under the age of 18, and although Section 19 of the Act allows marriages below this age ‘under special circumstances’, this cannot extend to a child marriage of a girl with a man against whom a rape case is pending.”

The coalition also urged the authorities concerned to refrain from legitimising such practices that violate safeguards under rape and child marriage legislation.

The release also said, “Considering the gravity of the offence of rape, Section 19 (2) of the Women and Repression Prevention Act, 2000 has laid down stringent provisions for getting bail for offences under this Act.”

The release added that the news report of rape was published in on April 12, 2022. According to the report, the girl became pregnant after the rape.

After the accused was arrested and detained under rape charges, he reportedly applied for bail before the High Court Division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh, on the condition of marrying the rape victim.

The court ruled that it would consider the request for bail after the marriage. Thereafter the marriage between the rape accused and rape complainant reportedly took place inside the Khulna District Jail. The Jail Authority claimed that the marriage took place “on the orders of the High Court”.

The RLRC member organisations are Acid Survivors Foundation, Action Aid, Ain O Salish Kendra, Bangladesh Mahila Parishad, Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (Secretariat), Bangladesh Women Lawyers’ Association, Bandhu Social Welfare Society, BRAC, Care Bangladesh, Justice for All Now (JANO), Bangladesh, icddr,b, Manusher Jonno Foundation, Naripokkho, Women with Disabilities Development Foundation, We Can, Women for Women, and Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA).

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