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Bangladesh judge sacked for saying rape cases should not be filed after 72 hours

Bangladesh judge sacked for saying rape cases should not be filed after 72 hours
Judge made the observation last week while acquitting five accused in a rape case

Bangladesh’s Supreme Court relieved a woman judge of her duties on Sunday after she said the police should not register rape cases 72 hours after the crimes were committed.

Judge Mosammat Kamrunnahar was relieved of her court duties, Supreme Court spokesperson Mohammad Saifur Rahman said in a statement.

“The Supreme Court sent a letter to the Ministry of Law today to temporarily revoke judicial powers and withdraw her from her current workplace and assign her to the Ministry of Law’s Law and Justice Department,” Mr Rahman said.

The decision to revoke the judge’s judicial duties was taken after a consultation with other senior justices, the statement added.

Judge Kamrunnahar had made the remarks on 11 November while presiding over a 2017 rape case in which five youths were charged with raping two university students at the posh Raintree hotel in national capital Dhaka, according to several media reports.

The judge acquitted the five accused on 11 November, citing a lack of evidence.

“The police officer wasted the public’s time and no rape case should be filed 72 hours after the crime,” she said in her judgement, adding that “it proved that the university students had consensual sex before the incident.”

Law minister Anisul Huq told the media on Sunday that her statement gave “wrong instructions to law enforcement agencies. Hence, it was necessary to take action against the judge. This too will go ahead in a completely legal way.”

Local media said the judge will be presented with a show-cause notice to explain her reasons for making the remarks.

Mr Huq said: “Let me make one thing clear – I don’t want to talk about the content of the verdict. But her observation asking the police not to record a case 72 hours after rape is totally illegal and unconstitutional.”

The Dhaka Tribune newspaper quoted Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, secretary general of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, as saying that the judge’s verdict in the 2017 rape case was “an insult to the women of this country.”

“The brutal incident had taken place and we have proof of it in the case files and in the newspapers. So, why have all the accused been acquitted by the court?” he questioned.