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She Was Burned Alive for Reporting Assault. Now, Charges

Family wants justice for Nusrat Jahan Rafi
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 29, 2019 2:48 PM CDT
Protesters hold placards and gather to demand justice for an 18-year-old woman who was killed after she was set on fire for refusing to drop sexual harassment charges against her Islamic school's principal,...   (AP Photo/Mahmud Hossain Opu)

(Newser) – Nusrat Jahan Rafi was burned alive after reporting that her school headmaster had groped her. Now, 16 people have been charged in the Bangladesh teen's murder, the BBC reports. That includes the headmaster, Siraj Ud Doula, who police say ordered the hit on Rafi from prison after she refused to drop her allegations against him. Rafi, 19, filed a police complaint on March 27 and Doula was arrested. On April 6, police say she was lured to the roof of her Islamic school, bound and gagged when she once again refused to recant her accusations, doused with kerosene by a group of assailants wearing burkas, and set on fire. She died four days later, but was able to give a statement to police first.

The others charged include students at the school and two local politicians who are in positions of prominence at the school. Police say a dozen of the accused, including Doula, have admitted their involvement, but the politicians have not. Investigators say they will pursue the death penalty, Al Jazeera reports. Rafi's brother says the family is hoping for a quick trial, per the Guardian: "We want all the culprits to be hanged to death." Rafi filed the report after, she said, Doula called her into his office and started touching her inappropriately; she ran out of the office and reported the incident that same day. Rafi's murder shocked the nation, and led to mass protests. (Read more Bangladesh stories.)

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