Rape in Raintree: A legal perspective
The two students, the plaintiff and her one friend, filed a FIR on May 06, 2017 against five men, Shafat Ahmed (26), son of the Dildar Ahmed the owner of Apan Jewelers, Nayeem Ashraf alias Abdul Halim (30), Sadman Sakif (24), his driver Billal (26), and Shafat's bodyguard. The plaintiffs alleging Shafat Ahmed and Sadman Sakif committed "rape" against them on March 28, 2017 in Raintree hotel, Banani, Dhaka.
The plaintiff alleging that, she was invited to attend Shafat Ahmed's birthday party at Raintree hotel. The plaintiff went to attend the birthday party along with her friends. After the party, the two prime accused, Shafat and Nayem, confined the plaintiffs in two different rooms of the hotel and "raped" them at gunpoint. The driver Billal recorded the video of the incident.
The accused were hiding them in Jalalabad, Sylhet. They were arrested by a Police team. The other prime accused, Nayeem Ashraf alias Abdul Halim, was arrested from Louhajang in Munshiganj district on May 17. All the accused produced before the Court and the Court granted remand. Shafat Ahmed's driver Billal confessed that the plaintiffs were raped in a planned way. He also confessed that he was recorded the video of the incident in a mobile phone.
A FIR has been filed after a month later of the rape incident. Now, a question is arising that why the rape victim file the FIR after one month of the incident? It is not a valid question. As we know that for our social contexts, families try to hide rape incidents. Our society is not helpful to the rape victim.
However, there is no bar, under the laws of Bangladesh, to file a FIR of a rape incident after even one month of the incident. So, the plaintiff in the above case validly instituted the FIR and this shall be going under the prescribed legal proceeding of Bangladesh.
Bangladeshi laws, the Penal Code 1860 and "Nari o Sishu Nirjaton Damon Ain, 2000", defined the term "rape" and it is a punishable offence under the both laws. According to section 375 of Penal Code, 1860, a man is said to have committed rape if has "sexual intercourse" with a woman "against her will or without her consent or with her consent, if consent has been obtained by putting her in fear of death or of hurt, or ��years of age."
Section 9 (1) of the "Nari o Sishu Nirjaton Damon Ain, 2000" provides that "If a male person without marital relationship has sexual intercourse with a woman above 16 years of age without her consent or with consent, obtained by putting her in fear or by deceitful means or with a woman....he shall be presumed to have raped such a woman."
According to the FIR and the plaintiff's statements given to different media person in Bangladesh, the accused persons, Shafat Ahmed, Nayeem Ashraf and Sadman Sakif, were committed "sexual intercourse" against the consent of the two victims.
The plaintiff of this case also claims that accused raped the plaintiff and her friend on gunpoint. So according to the statements of the plaintiff the "sexual intercourse" against plaintiff and her friend at hotel Raintree was "RAPE" under both the Penal Code, 1860 and "Nari o Sishu Nirjaton Damon Ain, 2000".
Both the laws prescribed punishment for committing rape. Under section 376 of the Penal code provides, whoever commits rape shall be punished with imprisonment for life or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to 10 years and shall also be liable to fine.
Section 9 (1) of the "Nari O Sishu Nirjaton Damon Ain, 2000" states that whoever commits rape under section 9(1) of this Act, he shall be punished with imprisonment for life and with fine. Section 9 (3) of this Act extends the punishment if by committing or attempting such rape the victim died or hurt then he shall be punished with imprisonment for life.
In this case the Driver Billal was "Abetting" to the accused to commit the rape. Further investigation should be carried out that whether the authority or staffs of the hotel were abetting to commit such rape in this case. If they do so, they have to be tried before the Court to abet the accused under section 108 of the Penal Code, 1860.
Md Razidur Rahaman is Research Officer at Bangladesh Heritage Foundation, National Security & Counter--Terrorism