Four people including a Muslim cleric have been arrested, on Wednesday 02/02/2011, in Bangladesh in connection with the death of 14-year-old girl Hena Begum who was publicly lashed.

The teenager was accused of having an affair with a married man, police say, and the punishment was given under Islamic Shariaa law. Hena Begum’s family members said a village court consisting of elders and clerics passed the sentence (see -Women-rights ).

She was alleged to have had the affair with her cousin and received 80 lashes.

The family members of the married man also allegedly beat the girl up a day before the village court passed the sentence in the district of Shariatpur.

“Her family members said she was admitted to a hospital after the incident and she died six days later. The village elders also asked the girl’s father to pay a fine of about 50,000 Taka (£430; $700),” district superintendent of police, AKM Shahidur Rahman, told the BBC. He said it had not been established yet whether she died because of the punishment she received or another reason.

Activists say dozens of fatwas – or religious rulings – are issued under Sharia law each year by village clergy in Bangladesh.

A group of people held a rally on Wednesday in the town of Shariatpur in protest against those who gave the fatwa and demanded action against them.

This is the second reported fatality linked to a Shariaa law punishment since the practice was outlawed last year by the High Court.

A 40-year-old woman in the district of Rajshahi died in 12/2010, days after she was publicly caned for allegedly having an affair with her stepson.

Nearly 90% of Bangladesh’s estimated 160 million population are Muslims, most of whom practice a moderate version of Islam.

In late 08/2010 a couple was stoned to death in Kunduz, North-East Afghanistan for adultery after a court of local elders ordered so. A video footage of the stoning  has emerged out of Afghanistan in late 01/2011.


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