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The Courier-Mail, Brisbane, Australia, 10 July 2010
Landmark ruling outlaws fatwas
DHAKA: The Bangladesh High Court has outlawed punishments handed down by religious edict, or fatwa, after a series of cases of Muslim women being beaten and caned, officials said yesterday.
The court ruling came late on Thursday on public interest litigations by human rights groups who highlighted examples of women being publicly whipped for "crimes" like adultery, having a child out of wedlock or even just talking to people of other faiths. In some cases, rape victims were flogged for "participating" in their assault.
"The judges have ruled that all extrajudicial punishments in the name of fatwa, or religious edicts, are illegal and without lawful authority," Deputy Attorney-General Akram Hossain Chowdhury told reporters.
The ruling also provides jail terms for clerics or any members of village courts who order such punishments by invoking Islamic shariah law.
Human rights lawyer Shadeen Malik hailed what he described as a "landmark" ruling.
There was no immediate reaction from the numerous Islamic parties in Bangladesh, which is 90 per cent Muslim. -- AFP
New Age Metro, Dhaka, 29 July 2010
Two caned, fined for teasing girl
Two youths were caned and fined Tk 50,000 on Tuesday in an arbitration at Khadimpara on the suburb of the Sylhet city for harassing a schoolgirl.
Local arbitrators declared the verdict against Rezaul, 21, son of Mostafa Miah, and Abdul Kaiyum, 20, son of Sharif Miah, of village Baraband under Khadimpara union of sadar upazila in the district in the arbitration held at Shaheb Bazar High School playground at noon.
Local sources said Rezaul and Kaiyum teased a female student of Class VIII of the school on July 18 when she was returning home from the school.
Later, the school students and their guardians observed a series of programmes demanding the trial of the culprits.
The students also started boycotting the half-yearly examinations from Sunday to push the school authorities for the trial, the sources said.
In the face of pressure from the students, local elites sat in an arbitration on the school playground at noon and punished the two, local people said.
Another youth Kurshed, 22, was also forced to sit and stand for ten times holding his ears as he tried to defend the two youths during the arbitration, sources present at the meeting said.
Local union council chairman Sirazul Islam, who presided over the meeting, confirmed the news of punishing the youths for teasing a schoolgirl.
'The decision was taken unanimously by the meeting, he added.
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