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Monday, October 12, 2020 11:06:03 PM
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Death penalty for rape

Cabinet approves changes to law amid protests against sexual assaults

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A woman protests in front of the National Parliament building over rising incidents of rape in the country.

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13th-Oct-2020       
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Staff Reporter :
The cabinet has approved an amendment that would allow for the death penalty in rape cases, as anger grows in the country over incidents of sexual assault.
The amendment was approved at a weekly meeting of the council of ministers headed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, cabinet secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam told reporters in a news conference on Monday.
He the ministers approved the draft of the Women and Children Repression Prevention (Amendment) Bill, 2020 in the meeting held virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The bill says anyone convicted of rape will be punished with death or "rigorous imprisonment" for life. The existing provision stipulates a maximum of life in prison for rape.
Law Minister Anisul Huq has said an ordinance will be promulgated tomorrow ( Tuesday) on the amendment of the Women and Children Repression Prevention Act, incorporating the provision of death penalty for rape so that the law can be applied quickly.
"The cabinet today approved the proposal for amending the Nari O Shishu Nirjaton Daman Ain incorporating the provision for death penalty or (the existing) life imprisonment for rape, subject to its vetting. As the parliament session is not running at present,
    
 the government is preparing to issue an ordinance tomorrow under the president's order," Anisul Huq said at a press briefing at his residential office in Gulshan on Monday afternoon.
The changes to the law were demanded by thousands of demonstrators across the country calling for more stringent punishments for the perpetrators of sexual assaults.
The demonstrators, mainly women students and activists, who took to the streets in Dhaka and other cities, protested against the rising number of incidents of rape and sexual assaults reported in the media. They shouted "Hang the rapists" and "No mercy to rapists".
In a recent report, human rights group Ain o Salish Kendra said nearly 1,000 women were raped in the first nine months of the year - one-fifth of them being gang rapes - while 43 of the 975 victims were killed after being attacked.

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