Bangladesh arrests policeman over sharing of harassment complaint

Nusrat Jahan Rafi was allegedly killed after she refused to withdraw sexual assault complaint against her teacher.

    The killing of Nusrat Jahan Rafi in April sparked protests across the South Asian nation [Mamunur Rashid/Getty]
    The killing of Nusrat Jahan Rafi in April sparked protests across the South Asian nation [Mamunur Rashid/Getty]

    Bangladeshi authorities have arrested a senior policeman accused of sharing on social media the recording of an official complaint of sexual harassment made by a teenage girl who was later burned to death.

    Moazzem Hossain, who is suspended from duty, had been in hiding since late May, when the Cyber Tribunal court warrant was issued against him over sharing the complaint by Nusrat Jahan Rafi.

    A police spokesman said on Sunday he had been arrested after a tip-off and "will be soon produced to the court", where he will face charges of violating digital security laws.

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    The killing of Rafi in April sparked protests across the South Asian nation, with the prime minister promising to prosecute all those involved.

    At least 16 people - including the teacher - have been charged in connection with the killing and could face the death penalty if convicted.

    Rafi was lured to the rooftop of an Islamic seminary she attended where her attackers asked her to withdraw a sexual harassment complaint filed with police against the head teacher.

    When she refused, she was doused in kerosene and set on fire. Rafi suffered burns to 80 percent of her body and died five days later, her death highlighted an alarming rise in sexual harassment cases in Bangladesh.

    She recorded a video before her death, repeating her allegations against the teacher.

    An investigation by authorities later found Moazzem Hossain, the police chief of the town where Rafi was killed, had not properly dealt with the complaint the teenager made.

    Rafi went to the police in late March to make allegations of sexual harassment against the head teacher. A leaked video showed Hossain registering her complaint, but dismissing it as "not a big deal".

    Hossain was accused of illegally filming the video, which was later circulated on social media platforms.

    Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina met Rafi's family and assured that her killers would be punished.

    SOURCE: News agencies