Bangladesh cricketer Shahadat Hossain has been charged along with his wife of torturing an 11-year-old girl who worked as a servant at their home. The 29-year-old international sportsman, who has been suspended until further notice by the Bangladeshi Cricket Board, now faces up to 14 years in jail if convicted.
Hossain, who has played 38 tests for Bangladesh, had been in custody since October over allegations of assaulting a child and employing a minor. They relate to Mahfuza Akter, known as Happy, who was discovered in a street in the country’s capital of Dhaka with multiple injuries – including a broken leg.
The alleged victim said Hossain and his wife Nritto Shahadat, who has also been charged in the same case, punched and slapped her. The child told police and local media that the couple beat and tortured her, while television footage showed her looking frail and thin with swollen black eyes.
‘They used to beat me with sticks, kitchen utensils, punch me, and scratch me. I would be slapped a lot,’ she was quoted as saying by CNN.
The young maid said she was sent to work in the couple’s home by her grandmother when her extended family needed the money. The couple went into hiding after police raided their house in September, leading officers to search various locations, including Hossain’s ancestral village and his father-in-law’s residence.
Hossain’s wife was arrested at her parent’s house in Dhaka four weeks later and Hossain handed himself in the next day.
The charges have been brought under legislation designed to protect women and children from domestic abuse.
The couple will appear in court on January 12 to face the charges under Bangladesh’s Women and Children Repression Prevention Act.
Anyone who causes damage or disfigurement to the limb, joint or any other part of the body of a woman or child faces up to 14 years in jail under the act.