A crowd outside of Hena Begum's house.
As a girl living in the western world, I don’t realise the things I take for granted until I realise how they might be taken away; the freedom to eat and wear what I like, the freedom to hang out with whoever I like, wherever I like and the freedom and ability to defend myself against charges against my reputation which could lead to my death. Luckily the latter is something that would never happen in my world – but it can happen regularly in other countries.
The body of a 14 year old girl, who was given 80 lashes for allegedly having an affair with a married man in Bangladesh, has been ordered to be exhumed in order to examine cause of death. Hena Begum died a week after receiving the lashes on the authority of a village court made up of elders and clerics.
Many villagers have been arrested for her death and the High Court in Bangladesh has also ordered the doctors who issued the initial post-mortem to appear before court. Even though Sharia law was outlawed in Bangladesh, this is another death that highlights how religious rulings (Fatwa) have absolute rule over the law of the courts. Hena Begum’s death at the hands of her community cannot be accepted in any society.
- Julie Anne Young
Girl Museum Inc.