13 charged with murder over Bangladesh boy's killing

DHAKA - Bangladesh police have charged 13 men with murder over the brutal lynching of a 13-year-old boy that provoked national outrage after video footage of the attack went viral, a detective said Monday.

Police submitted a charge sheet to a court in the northern city of Sylhet on Sunday over the killing last month of Samiul Alam Rajon, who was beaten to death by a mob after being falsely accused of stealing a bicycle.

"After we filed the charge sheet including the statements of some witnesses, the court last evening accepted it," detective Suronjit Talukder, investigating the case, told AFP.

Samiul, accused of theft, was tied to a pole and then subjected to a brutal assault in which he pleaded for his life. An autopsy found 64 separate injuries had been inflicted on the teenager.

A 28-minute video of Samiul, which was widely circulated after being posted on social media, has prompted deep soul-searching among Bangladeshis as well as a series of mass protests.

In the video, the terrified youngster can be heard screaming in pain and repeating: "Please don't beat me like this, I will die."

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." Ten men have been arrested since the July 8 killing and have confessed their involvement, Talukder said.

Another three, who fled the city, have also been charged in absentia with murder including Kamrul Islam, who was arrested in Saudi Arabia after officials received a tip from members of the country's large Bangladeshi expatriate community.

A foreign ministry official said he hoped the charge sheet would now prompt Saudi Arabia to speed up his repatriation.

Thousands of people demonstrated in Samiul's home city and in a dozen other cities and towns in the days after the murder as outrage grew.

Samiul's father Sheikh Azizur Rahman told reporters on Monday he would not rest "until the culprits get proper punishment".

His family says the boy is innocent of the accusation he stole the bicycle and police say their investigation found no evidence of theft.