The family of a 14-year-old girl who was beaten to death in Bangladesh says she didn’t commit adultery—she was raped. Hena Akhter’s family talked to CNN this week, and offered a heartbreaking story of the girl’s death. In their telling, Akhter’s much older cousin, Mahbub Khan, had repeatedly harassed the girl, and finally this winter trapped her in a bathroom stall, gagged her, beat her, and raped her. When his wife walked in on the scene, she beat Hena, too, and then reported the “adultery” to the local Imam.
A makeshift tribunal sentenced Hena to 101 lashes—she passed out after 70. She arrived at the hospital bleeding badly, and died a week later. Yet the autopsy report listed no injuries, ruling her death a suicide. Now, Hena's family is suing that doctor, and have ensured that many involved in Hena's punishment have been arrested. Bangladesh's public seems outraged, and that might be the faint silver lining here, writes Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times. "Let’s hope that the public reaction and punishments are so strong that the word goes out … that such misogynist fatwas are not only immoral but illegal.”