The High Court yesterday directed the deputy commissioner of Brahmanbaria to turn in within a week a probe report on a fatwa (religious edict) against a 17-year-old girl.

The girl from Banchharampur upazila was given 101 lashes on May 19 as a punishment for having an affair.

The court ordered the superintendent of police (SP) of Brahmanbaria and the officer-in-charge (OC) of Banchharampur Police Station to produce the victim with her guardian before it on June 2.

It asked the media not to publish the name or photo of the girl or show any footage.

An HC bench of justices Syed Mahmud Hossain and Gobinda Chandra Tagore issued a ruling on the government to explain in a week why extra-judicial punishments in the name of Islamic Sharia law or fatwa should not be declared illegal.

It asked the government to explain why it should not be directed to include an article on awareness against fatwa in school, madrasa, college and university textbooks.

The court directives came after Supreme Court lawyers Mahbub Shafique, KM Hafizul Alam and Emranul Hye filed a writ petition challenging the issuance of fatwa and seeking legal action against the people responsible.

They filed the petition yesterday on the basis of a report on the incident published in the daily Prothom Alo on May 22.

Secretaries to the ministries of law, home, religious and cultural affairs, and inspector general of police, DC and SP of Brahmanbaria and OC of Banchharampur Police Station were made respondents to the court orders.

Source: The Daily Star – 25.05.2010

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