Gold Medalist Female Weightlifter raped by Office Assistant of Bangladesh Weightlifting Federation

Maliha (pseudonym) is a 17 years old gold medalist of weightlifting in Bangladesh. She used to live at a small village, named, Noyagao of Cumilla with her family. Due to poverty she could not continue her studies beyond class ten. She secured the first position and earned a gold medal and certificate in 10th National Club Weightlifting Championship in 2015. In August 2018, she rented a house in Badda, Dhaka, to stay temporarily to ease her participation in the 3rd Inter-Service Weightlifting Championship 2018.

Like every other morning, on 13 September 2018, she went to Bangladesh Weightlifting Federation and participated in the trial for the Championship. That night, she returned home at 03:00 am, and on her return, she told her mother that she is feeling unwell, and thereafter to bring her medicine for her pain and fever. Her condition kept on deteriorating day by day.

About a month later, Maliha finally opened up and shared with one of her sister-in-law the actual incident, that on 13 September 2018, Md. Sohag Ali, Office Assistant of Bangladesh Weightlifting Federation, raped her at around 01:00 pm, when she was on her way home from the Federation. He also threatened her that if she discloses the matter, he will kill her as well as her family members. On 23 October, when Maliha’s mental condition was worsening, she was admitted to National Institute of Mental Health, Dhaka.

ASK’s Intervention

On being made aware of the incident through a national daily, representatives of Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK) met with Maliha and extended their legal assistance to her. With ASK’s assistance, a case has been filed in Motijheel Police Station under Section 10(b) of the Nari o Sishu Nirjaton Daman Ain (Prevention of Repression against Women and Children Act) 2000. Keeping into consideration the matters of her safety, a place for Maliha and her grandmother have been secured in ASK’s Half-way shelter home. As of date, the accused has been arrested,