DHAKA: Outrage over the lynching of a 13-year-old boy mounted in Bangladesh Tuesday, with more protests planned over the murder which was captured on video, as one of the suspects confessed after being arrested in Saudi Arabia.
Bangladeshi police have now arrested five people over the July 8 killing of Samiul Alam Rajon, who was tied to a pole and then subjected to a sickening assault in which he pleaded for his life.
The 28-minute video of Samiul, which went viral after being posted on social media, has sparked an outpouring of anger, with petitions and demonstrations demanding the attackers face the death penalty.
Samiul was accused by his attackers of stealing a bicycle in the northeastern city of Sylhet although his family insist that the youngster was innocent.
Local police chief Akhter Hossain said his officers had arrested three people overnight, including the wife of one of the suspects and two men who were at the scene.
Police were also hunting for “two others who directly took part” in the beating, Hossain told AFP. “It’s a brutal and heinous murder and we won’t spare anyone,” he added.
The latest arrests bring the number of people in custody to five, including the alleged ringleader Muhit Alam and his main accomplice Kamrul Islam who was arrested in Saudi Arabia, according to Bangladesh’s foreign ministry.
Islam fled to Jeddah in the immediate aftermath of the attack but reports said he was arrested by the Saudi authorities after members of the large Bangladeshi expat community in Jeddah reported him to police.
In a video filmed by an expat TV station as he was led away to a waiting police car in handcuffs, Islam said that he had “made a mistake, please forgive me,” before bursting into tears.
An autopsy on Samiul found 64 separate injuries had been inflicted on the teenager during the assault in which he could be seen begging for water.
Demonstrators formed a human chain on Monday around Samiul’s home in Sylhet and a new mass demonstration in the city centre has been called for Tuesday afternoon.
Similar protests have been organised for other major cities, including the capital Dhaka.
In the video, the terrified youngster can be heard screaming in pain and repeating: “Please don’t beat me like this, I will die.”
Samiul’s attackers can be heard on the footage trying to force him to confess his involvement in the theft.
At one stage he is told to walk away. But as he tries to get to his feet, one of the attackers shouts: “His bones are okay. Beat him some more.”
It is not clear who filmed the video although police initially said they believed it was captured on smart phone by one of the attackers.