DHAKA, Bangladesh – A court in northeastern Bangladesh indicted 13 people on Tuesday in the beating death of a 13-year-old boy that shocked a nation used to violent crime because a video of him being tortured was posted online.
Metropolitan Sessions Judge Akbar Hossain Mridha said the trial of the 13, including the main suspect who fled to Saudi Arabia, will begin Oct. 1.
The boy, Samiul Islam Rajon, died of internal bleeding after being attacked in the northeastern city of Sylhet. The attackers allegedly were punishing him for stealing a bicycle, an allegation his family and police say is unfounded. His body bore at least 64 injuries, according to an autopsy report.
The main suspect, Kamrul Islam, has been detained in Saudi Arabia and is awaiting repatriation. Ten men are behind bars after being arrested with the help of local residents, and two others are still at large.
The 10 arrested defendants pleaded innocent Tuesday. Some face murder charges while others are accused of helping the attackers.
Murder charges carry a maximum penalty of death.
The chilling, 28-minute cellphone video was widely viewed online. In it, the boy is heard screaming in pain and pleading with his attackers, who laughed when he asked for water.
Like many poor children in Bangladesh, Rajon was forced to leave school to work to help his family, in his case selling vegetables.