- January 31, 2011
A Grave Memorial
Hena Akhter, a 14 year old girl, had some
last words for her mother, before the teenage girl died. Hena let
her mother know that she did not do what she had been accused of doing.
The youngest of five children, Hena came from a place called Shariapur,
Hena lived a normal life until her cousin came to live in her area.
Mahbub Khan was three times the age of Hena
and would harass her while she was walking to school every day as well
as on her way home. Darbesh Khan, Hena's father, complained about his
nephew to the Elders in their village. Mahbub was given warnings by the
elders and ordered to pay $1,000. in fines to Hena's family. Mahbu is
the son of Darbesh's older brother and they asked him to just let it go.
Several months later,
during the winter, Hena was walking from her
bedroom to an outdoor toilet when she was
when she was gagged and dragged behind some nearby shrubs. Mahbub then
beat and raped her. Hena tried to get free and her muffled screams were
heard by Mahbub's wife.
When the woman found the two of
them together, she dragged Hena into her hut and started beating her
and she fell to the floor.
The next day, the village elders met to discuss what had happened and
the Imam announced that they were both guilty of an illicit
relationship. Under the Sharia, which is
Islamic law, she was sentenced to 101 lashed with
a whip, he was sentenced to 201. The punishment would take place in
public and would be swift and deliberate.
Islamic law is supped to be outlawed in Bangladesh, however, in the
village, Imam still makes their own rules.
When it was time for Mahbub to be punished, he escaped after just a few
lashes. Hena was not as lucky as he was. Hena tried to get away and
could not. After 70 lashes, the whip
broke and she fell down and was found to
be unconscious. As Hena's family watched, her legs were tied together
and she was forced to stand up again
and the lashings continued. Even after she collapsed again, the lashing
did not stop.
Hena was taken to the hospital where she was bloody and bruised. A week
later, Hena died from internal injuries though her autopsy would say
she committed suicide and had no injuries to her boy. Hena's parents
demanded that her body be exhumed and after a second autopsy it was
found that the first doctors had covered up her injuries. Four doctors
were charged with negligence for covering up what happened to Hena and
was also arrested. Reports say it is doubtful that anyone will be
charged with murdering Hena.
"What happened to Hena
is unfortunate and we all have to be ashamed that we couldn't save her
On February 4, 2011, the main people who
had been accused, had not yet been arrested. Police had been
trying to find them. One of the men responsible for handing down the
ruling against her, Mafiz Uddin, had already been arrested while
another man, Rahman, was still at large. Hena's father filed a case
with the Naria
Police against 18 people with Mahbub being the main person named. The
high court was waiting for a state-
ment from the local administration and wanted them to explain what
measures had been taken to resist Hena's killing.
Hena's father said:
"I'm not educated. I
don't know what the court laws are. But I know that if I don't listen
elders, we would be
outcast. None of my daughters could marry, no one would even look
at us. If I had known that it would be them who would be punished, not
me, then I would have
tried to stop it"
were investigating and Hena's father had this to say:
council used a wet piece of cloth with a knot at one end to whip her.
There was nothing
"I told police everything they wanted to
know. I want a proper
investigation and I want justice.
What happened in Mahbub's home, what sort
of justice is this? My
daughter was just a young
girl and these people said she had to be
whipped and there was nobody
I could do to stop them. My brother-in-law saw it. When Hena first fell
over after 30 lashes,
they made her stand up again and kept going. She couldn't speak or eat
after words and
she was bleeding through her nose and mouth. Her memory is driving us,
it is always
with us. She was innocent. I've nothing to demand but justice"
buried in a simple grave next to her families mud hut in the village.
It was reported that the entire village was there.
In March of 2011, reports came out that the doctors who had been in
charge of the first autopsy done on Hena were facing prosecution for
falsifying her autopsy results in order to hide her cause of death.
Hena's body had been exhumed in February and a second autopsy showed
that she had died of internal bleeding and her body still had the marks
of her beating. Police were continuing their investigation and had
already arrested several people.
November 11, 2014
Today I was checking for updates in Hena's story and was not able to
find anything related to anyone going to prison for her death.
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Death Occurred in Bangladesh
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