Vietnam’s President Quang dies after ‘serious illness’

Vietnam President Tran Dai Quang was appointed to the role in April, 2016. (AFP)
Updated 21 September 2018
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Vietnam’s President Quang dies after ‘serious illness’

  • Vietnam has no paramount ruler and is officially led by the president, prime minister and Communist Party chief
  • Rumors of Quang’s illness had been swirling on social media for months

HANOI: Vietnam President Tran Dai Quang, one of the country’s top three leaders but with mostly ceremonial duties, died on Friday after an illness, state television and radio announced.
Quang, 61, died in a military hospital in Hanoi from a “serious illness despite efforts by domestic and international doctors and professors,” Vietnam Television reported.
Vietnam has no paramount ruler and is officially led by the president, prime minister and Communist Party chief. Experts say the presidency is largely ceremonial.
Quang was appointed to the role in April, 2016. Before that, he had served as Minister of Public Security, an organization with broad powers and a remit that includes intelligence gathering and thwarting domestic and foreign threats to the party.
Originally from a small farming community 115 kilometers south of Hanoi, Quang rose through party ranks to become a police general and member of Vietnam’s powerful decision-making Politburo.
“We are saddened to hear the news that the president has died,” said Bui Duc Phi, chairman of the village in which Quang was born.
Rumors of Quang’s illness had been swirling on social media for months.
At one of his last appearances, during a visit by Indonesian President Joko Widodo to Hanoi on September 11, Quang appeared visibly unwell and stumbled as he stepped onto a platform to inspect a guard of honor.
State-owned newspaper Vietnam News said Quang hosted a reception for China’s Supreme Court chief in Hanoi on Wednesday.


Protests in Bangladesh after girl is burned to death

Updated 1 min 16 sec ago
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Protests in Bangladesh after girl is burned to death

  • Nusrat Jahan Rafi told her family she was lured to the roof of her rural school in the town of Feni on April 6 and asked to withdraw the charges by five people clad in burqas
  • The violence has shaken Bangladesh, triggering protests and raising concerns over the plight of women and girls in the conservative nation of 160 million people where sexual harassment and violence are often unreported

DHAKA, Bangladesh: Dozens of protesters gathered in Bangladesh’s capital on Friday to demand justice for an 18-year-old woman who died after being set on fire for refusing to drop sexual harassment charges against her Islamic school’s principal.
Nusrat Jahan Rafi told her family she was lured to the roof of her rural school in the town of Feni on April 6 and asked to withdraw the charges by five people clad in burqas. When she refused, she said her hands were tied and she was doused in kerosene and set alight.
Rafi told the story to her brother in an ambulance on the way to the hospital and he recorded her testimony on his mobile phone. She died four days later in a Dhaka hospital with burns covering 80% of her body.
The violence has shaken Bangladesh, triggering protests and raising concerns over the plight of women and girls in the conservative Muslim-majority nation of 160 million people where sexual harassment and violence are often unreported, victims are intimidated and the legal process is often lengthy. Many avoid reporting to police because of social stigma.
“We want justice. Our girls must grow up safely and with dignity,” Alisha Pradhan, a model and actress, told The Associated Press during Friday’s demonstration. “We protest any forms of violence against women, and authorities must ensure justice.”
Tens of thousands of people attended Rafi’s funeral prayers in Feni, and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina promised Rafi’s family when they met in Dhaka that those responsible would be punished.
At least 17 people, including students, have been arrested in connection with the case, said Banaj Kumar Majumder, the head of the Police Bureau of Investigation.
In late March, Rafi filed a complaint with police that the principal of her madrasa, or Islamic school, had called her into his office and touched her inappropriately and repeatedly. Her family agreed to help her to file the police complaint, which prompted police to arrest the principal, infuriating him and his supporters. Influential local politicians backed the principal, and ruling party members were also among the arrested.
Police said the arrested suspects told them during interrogations that the attack on Rafi was planned and ordered by the school’s principal from prison when his men went to see him. It was timed for daytime so that it would look like a suicide attempt, Majumder said.
Human Rights Watch said in a statement that Rafi’s family said that they had received death threats before the attack telling them to drop the case.
While Rafi’s case is now being treated with urgency, that wasn’t the case until her death.
A video taken on March 27 while Rafi reported the assault shows the local police chief registering her complaint but telling her that the incident was “not a big deal.” The chief was later removed from the police station for negligence in dealing with the case.
For Bangladeshi women, it is often not easy to file sensitive complaints with police. Victims often fear further harassment and bullying. Police also often show an unwillingness to investigate such cases and are often accused of being influenced by local politics or bribes.
But the call for dealing with violence against women, especially related to sexual harassment and assault, is also getting louder.
“The horrifying murder of a brave woman who sought justice shows how badly the Bangladesh government has failed victims of sexual assault,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Nusrat Jahan Rafi’s death highlights the need for the Bangladesh government to take survivors of sexual assault seriously and ensure that they can safely seek a legal remedy and be protected from retaliation.”