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FACTBOX - From Bangladesh to Iran, countries where rape carries the death penalty

by Naimul Karim | @naimonthefield | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Tuesday, 13 October 2020 11:41 GMT

ARCHIVE PHOTO: Indian police stand guard next to barricades installed outside the court where a judge will announce the sentences for four men found guilty of fatally raping a young woman on a bus, in New Delhi September 13, 2013. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

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Bangladesh approves the use of the death penalty for rapists, joining at least six other countries where rape can be punished by death

By Naimul Karim

DHAKA, Oct 13 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Bangladesh approved the death penalty for rape on Tuesday following nationwide protests over an alleged gang rape and an online video showing a group of men sexually assaulting a woman.

Bangladesh has seen a surge in sexual crime in recent years, with nearly 1,000 incidents reported in the first nine months of this year, more than a fifth of them gang rapes, according to rights group Ain o Salish Kendra.

Under an amendment to the nation's rape law, anyone convicted of raping a woman or child can now be punished with "death or rigorous imprisonment for life."

Here are six other countries where rapists can be punished by death:

1. India

An executive order passed in 2018 approved the death penalty for rapists of girls below the age of 12 in India. The decision was taken in response to nationwide outrage over a series of rape cases.

Rapists with previous convictions and perpetrators of sexual assaults that lead to the death of the victim, or leave them in a persistent vegetative state, may also be punished by death, according to the country's criminal law.

2. Pakistan

Under the Pakistan Penal Code, offenders involved in gang rape can be sentenced to either death or life imprisonment.

Last month, Prime Minister Imran Khan said he wanted rapists to be chemically castrated or publicly executed after the rape of a woman on a highway sparked protests.

3. Saudi Arabia

Rape is a criminal offence under Saudi Arabia's Sharia law and involves a range of penalties such as flogging and execution. At least 150 executions took place in Saudi Arabia in 2019, eight of which were for rape.

4. Iran

With at least 250 executions last year, Iran conducted the second-highest number of executions in the world last year after China, according to Amnesty International. Twelve of the executions were for rape, under the country's Islamic Penal Code.

5. United Arab Emirates

Under UAE law, coerced sex with a woman is punishable by death. The law states that coercion is presumed if the victim is less than 14 years of age at the time of the crime.

The UAE did not record any executions in 2019, but imposed at least 18 death sentences for crimes including murder, rape and armed robbery.

6. China

The country's criminal law states that anyone who rapes a woman or has sexual intercourse with a girl aged below 14 can face death if the victim dies or is seriously injured, if the victim is raped in public or if the perpetrator commits multiple rapes.

Sources: Amnesty International, International Labour Organization, Death Penalty Database

(Reporting by Naimul Karim @Naimonthefield; Editing by Helen Popper. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)

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