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Bangladesh activists demand action after trans person murdered

Bangladesh activists demand action after trans person murdered

Reshma Khutan had been missing for several days and was found in a graveyard.

Reshma Khatun (Photo courtesy of JusticeMakers Bangadesh in France)
Reshma Khatun, pictured above, was found dead on March 11. JusticeMakers Bangladesh is calling on authorities to bring her killers to justice. (Photo courtesy of JusticeMakers Bangadesh in France)

The human rights group JusticeMakers Bangladesh in France (JMBF) has released a statement on the murder of Reshma Khatun, a Bangladeshi third-gender person, calling for justice for her murderers and safety for all LGBT Bangladeshis. JMBF’s statement is reproduced below, edited for clarity.

JusticeMakers Bangladesh in France expresses deep concern over the brutal murder of 25-year-old Reshma Khatun, a third-gender individual, whose decomposed body was discovered in March 2024 in the Kagajpukur graveyard of Benapole Port Police Station in Jessore, Bangladesh.

The France-based rights organization calls for the swift identification and apprehension of those responsible for this heinous act through a prompt, impartial, and transparent investigation, followed by exemplary punishment after a fair trial.

According to reports published in various newspapers in Bangladesh, Khatun’s body was recovered in a joint operation by the Jessore District Detective Branch (DB) and Benapole Port Police Station on the afternoon of March 11, 2024.

It is noteworthy that there had been reports of Khatun going missing for several days. Locals informed the Benapole Port Police Station on the morning of March 11, when they noticed fresh soil being dug inside the cemetery.

Previously, a young man named Farukh Hossain (25) was arrested for his involvement in the murder, and the police team located Reshma based on his confession. Hossain and Khatun are from the same village.

Hossain allegedly informed the police that Khatun was slain with a knife, her hands and feet bound, in an orchard in Kagazpukur village on March 8, 2024. It is believed that five or six other individuals are involved in the murder of Reshma. After the murder, the perpetrators are believed to have disposed of some of Reshma’s clothes, two mobile phones, and other evidence by concealing them in various locations.

Authorities conducted an autopsy on Khatun, and a murder case has been filed with the Benapole Port Police Station, Jessore.

Advocate Shahanur Islam, the Founder and President of JusticeMakers Bangladesh in France, urges the authorities in Bangladesh to prioritize this case and promptly apprehend all the culprits involved. He emphasizes the importance of ensuring the safety and protection of all individuals, regardless of their gender identity and sexual orientation.

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Mosque in Gopalpur area of Bangladesh (Photo courtesy of Pinterest)

Murder part of pattern of anti-LGBT violence in Bangladesh

JMBF highlights that Reshma Khatun, who identified as a transgender Hijra, represents a marginalized and often vulnerable community in Bangladeshi society. The circumstances surrounding her murder, which occurred at her residence due to her involvement with transgender communities, are deeply troubling and raise significant questions about the safety and security of transgender individuals in Bangladesh.

Furthermore, JMBF points out that the murder of Reshma Khatun is not an isolated incident but rather a common part of the ongoing human rights violations and discrimination perpetuated against LGBTQI people in Bangladesh. They believe that many incidents of violence against LGBT individuals go unreported due to social unacceptability in Bangladesh.

JMBF calls upon Bangladeshi authorities to guarantee the rights and protection of LGBT people in Bangladesh by enacting the Protection of Sexual Minority People Act and repealing Section 377 of the Bangladesh Penal Code, which criminalizes same-sex intimacy, as soon as possible.

You can read the full statement from JMBF here

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