Hena Akhter
- January 31, 2011
Find 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, in Bangladesh.

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 Mahbub 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 life"
Sultana Kamal

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 to the
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"

Police were investigating and Hena's father had this to say:

"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 stopping them"







"The council used a wet piece of cloth with a knot at one end to whip her. There was nothing
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"





Hena was buried in a simple grave next to her families mud hut in the village. It was reported that the entire village was there.

UPDATE:

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.

UPDATE: 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.

Death Occurred in Bangladesh

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