DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — Police in northeastern Bangladesh are seeking charges against 13 men for allegedly beating a 13-year-old boy to death in a case that stunned a nation used to violent crime because a video of the boy being tortured was posted online.
Detective Branch Inspector Suranjit Talukdar on Sunday sent the charges to a court in Sylhet city involving the case of victim Samiul Islam Rajon, who died of internal bleeding. The attackers allegedly punished him after accusing him of stealing a bicycle, an allegation his family and police say is unfounded.
A magistrate in Sylhet, Farhana Yasmin, scheduled a hearing for Aug. 24 to determine whether charges will be accepted.
A 28-minute chilling video of the beating of the boy, who cried for help, went viral online, triggering protests in the South Asian country, where such incidents are not rare. His body bore at least 64 injury marks, according to an autopsy report.
In the video, recorded with a cellphone camera, the boy is heard screaming in pain and pleading with his attackers: "Don't beat me please, will die, will die." The attackers laughed at the boy when he asked for water.
Like many poor children in Bangladesh, Rajon was forced to leave school to work to help his family, in his case selling vegetables.
The main suspect visible in the video fled to Saudi Arabia. He has been detained there and is waiting repatriation to face trial. The other 12 men were arrested by police with the help of local residents, who allegedly caught some of the attackers when they tried to dump the body.
If convicted of murder, the attackers could face the death penalty.