Thursday, May 26, 2005

Two-year-old Bangladeshi child acquitted of 'adultery'

BBC News:

The case is the second involving infants on serious charges this year The infants were bailed at $50 per child

A court in the northern Bangladeshi city of Bogra has acquitted a two-year-old child accused of adultery and theft, officials say.

The infant appeared in court on his mother's lap to seek bail.

Saiful Islam was accused along with six others in the case. The Magistrate expressed "surprise" at the charges, and immediately released him.

They also ordered the complainant in the case to explain why he was filing such charges against a toddler.

Magistrate Naveed Shafiullah also told local politician Yunus Ali - who launched a preliminary investigation into the case - to explain how the incident happened.

A report in the Daily Star newspaper said that the charges against the child and seven others were filed by Jahangir Alam on 9 February.

He alleged that Saiful Islam, other family members and his neighbours were all complicit in stealing gold ornaments and clothes worth between 3,000 Bangladeshi Taka ($47 ) and 13,000 Bangladeshi Taka ($204) from his house.

Mr Alam also alleged that the named parties lured away his wife, Mabia Khatun, to marry another man even though she was not properly divorced.

Mabia Khatun is Saiful Islam's sister-in-law.

The case is not the first in Bangladesh to involve infant children facing serious charges.

In March, Bangladesh's High Court stepped in to halt the trial of four infants - all members of an extended family - who were accused of looting and causing criminal damage.

Four police officers were suspended for negligence in the case and an inquiry was ordered.

The infants, aged between three months to two years, appeared in court in their parents' arms, and were bailed.

Correspondents say that case highlighted the widespread practice of harassing people by filing false complaints.

2yr boy charged with adultery, theft acquitted

Court halts 'baby looter' trial

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