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

Maliha (Pseudonym), a 17 years old teenager, used to live with her family at a small village at Noyagao, Cumilla. Due to poverty, she could not continue her studies beyond class ten. However, the pause in her education did not stop her from making headlines. In the 10th National Club Weightlifting Championship in the year 2015, she secured the first position, earned a gold medal in her name.
Following her weightlifting career, in August 2018, she temporarily rented a house in Badda, Dhaka in order to warm-up for her participation in the 3rd Inter-Service Weightlifting Championship 2018.
Like every other morning, on 13 September 2018, she went to the Bangladesh Weightlifting Federation to do her training. However, by the time she returned home, it was 3:00 am. Stating to her mother that she was feeling unwell, she asked her mother to bring her medicine for her pain and fever. As time went by, her condition was deteriorating day by day.
About a month later, Maliha finally shared what happened with her on 13 September with one of her sisters-in-law. She shared that Md. Sohag Ali, Office Assistant of Bangladesh Weightlifting Federation, raped her on 13 September 2018 at around 1:00 pm when she was on her way home from the Federation. That day, he also threatened to kill Maliha and all her family members if Maliha disclosed the matter to them. On 23 October 2018, when Maliha’s emotional condition was worsening, she was admitted to the National Mental Health Institute, Dhaka.
Seeing the news of this incident in national newspapers, ASK met Maliha and extended their legal assistance. With ASK’s assistance, a case has been filed in Matijheel thana under section 10 (Kha) of law on the Prevention of Repression against Women and Children 2000. Considering her safety, ASK arranged for her shelter in ASK’s half-way home along with her grandmother to take care of her. This was because initially, she was not in a situation to take care of herself for the trauma she faced.
Finally, on 11 February 2019, Sohag Ali was arrested with the help of Victim Support Centre, local police and ASK field staff, Shamsunnahar. As of date, the accused is in jail awaiting trial, while Maliha is under the safe protection of ASK’s half-way home. ASK staff lawyer is representing Maliha in her case.