A Bangladesh court sentenced 16 people to death Thursday, for the murder of a teenage girl who refused to withdraw her accusation of sexual abuse against the principal of her school, CNN reports.
The 19-year-old Nusrat Jahan Rafi, was lured onto the roof of her religious school by a group of men and restrained on April 6. The men poured kerosene on her and set her on fire in Feni, a city in Bangladesh. She suffered severe burns on 80 percent of her body and died in the hospital.
Authorities state that the principal, Siraj Ud Doula, ordered the men to set the girl on fire and told them to make her death appear as though it was a suicide. While serving his time in jail, the principal ordered the men "to put pressure on Rafi to withdraw the case, or kill her if she refused," authorities told the Agence France-Presse.
The defense lawyers tried to argue that it was a suicide and failed. The perpetrators will attempt to challenge the verdict, however.
"The verdict proves that nobody will get away with murder in Bangladesh. We have the rule of law," the public prosecutor said after the sentence was handed down.
Some groups are wondering if the police will be held accountable for this tragic incident. Rafi reportedly took her complaint to the chief of police, who dismissed her report as “not a big deal,” a leaked video shows.
Rafi’s death sparked massive protests across Bangladesh. Sexual assault and harassment is rampant in the country, but women are generally afraid to speak out for fear of violence.