Members of a feminist group take part in an ongoing protest in front of the parliament building in in Dhaka, demanding justice for the incidents of rape. The photo taken on 10 October, 2020
Members of a feminist group take part in an ongoing protest in front of the parliament building in in Dhaka, demanding justice for the incidents of rape. The photo taken on 10 October, 2020Reuters

President Abdul Hamid has signed an ordinance of the Women & Children Repression Prevention Act with the provision of death penalty as the maximum punishment for rape.

President’s press secretary Joynal Abedin told this to Prothom Alo on Tuesday.

As there is no parliamentary session right now, it has become a law through this ordinance. It will be passed in the form of law as per the rules when parliament session resumes.

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Under the previous law, the maximum punishment for rape was life imprisonment. Now the maximum punishment will be ‘death penalty or life imprisonment’ if anyone commits rape.

Earlier on 12 October, the cabinet approved the draft of Women & Children Repression Prevention Act keeping the provision of death penalty.

The draft law was approved amid the protests across the country following a series of rapes and gang rapes.

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The videos of a young woman being picked up with her husband raped at the MC College dormitory in Sylhet on 25 September, and another woman stripped and tortured in Begumganj upazila of Noakhali went viral on 4 October, sparking outrage across the country.

Demonstrations have been continuing for two weeks in different places including in Shahbagh, Motijheel and in front of the National Press Club of the capital demanding an end to rape and oppression against women.

The protesters demanded death penalty for rape.

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In addition to the death penalty, two more amendments were made in the law.

The law minister yesterday said the maximum punishment for rape in the existing law is lifetime imprisonment, which has been upgraded to death penalty.