• Thursday, Dec 03, 2020
  • Last Update : 01:37 am

ED: A case study in how the law can fail

  • Published at 11:00 pm October 20th, 2020

All rapists should be brought to book, no matter what their background

If we, as a nation, are serious about fighting the scourge of rape, the legal system must make sure that convictions happen swiftly and efficiently. The Law Ministry, in an attempt to appease protesters nationwide, recently introduced the death penalty for rape. This increases the severity of punishment while ignoring the real problem -- most rapists are not convicted in the first place. Trials can go on a snail’s pace until all attention is diverted away from them towards other issues.

This is particularly true in the case of the rich and the influential. Time and again, we see the justice system failing to punish powerful people. The cases are often tossed out, and sometimes stuck in endless limbo while the perpetrators go on living normal lives.

The wheels of justice in Bangladesh turn slowly, inefficiently, and with terrible inequality. This can be seen clearly in the Raintree Dhaka hotel rape case from 2017. Three and a half years since that brutal rape incident shook the country, the trial is yet to be completed.

Court sources say the trial is still pending due to the negligence of officials concerned, as well as the non-appearance of witnesses. The first reason -- the slackness of officials -- is absolutely unpardonable, especially in a case of such magnitude. The second is clearly due to intimidation, which once again highlights how the rich and powerful are rarely brought to justice.

While the government assures us that the harshest measures are taken against rapists, the prime accused with mountains of evidence against him walks free. Two of the defense lawyers are now giving the excuse of being ill. Our legal system should not let rape trials descend into farce. All rapists should be brought to book, no matter what their background.

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