FILE - Bangladeshi women hold placards and photographs of schoolgirl Nusrat Jahan Rafi at a protest in Dhaka, April 12, 2019, following her murder by being set on fire after she had reported a sexual assault.
FILE - Bangladeshi women hold placards and photographs of schoolgirl Nusrat Jahan Rafi at a protest in Dhaka, April 12, 2019, following her murder by being set on fire after she had reported a sexual assault.

Police in Bangladesh filed charges Wednesday against 16 people in connection with the burning death of a teenage girl who made sexual harassment allegations against her school principal.

Nusrat Jahan Rafi, 19, was soaked with kerosene and set ablaze on the rooftop of her Islamic school on April 6, just days after filing her complaint against principal Siraj Ud Doula. 

Police said Doula, who was arrested after the complaint was filed, ordered the girl's murder from jail.

Police said Rafi was lured to the rooftop where her alleged attackers asked that she withdraw her complaint. After she refused, she was set on fire and died a few days later. 

Protesters demand justice for an 18-year-old woman
FILE - Protesters demand justice for Nusrat Jahan Rafi, who was killed after she was set on fire for refusing to drop sexual harassment charges against her Islamic school's principal, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, April 19, 2019.

Rafi's death sparked nationwide protests and highlighted a sharp increase in sexual harassment cases in the South Asian country. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has vowed to prosecute everyone involved. 

The alleged attackers intended to make the murder appear as a suicide, but police said she was able to give a statement before she died on April 10.

Murder charges were formally filed against the alleged attackers, two of whom were girls in Rafi's class. Prosecutors are calling for the death penalty for all of the suspects.

Rafi's brother, Mahmudul Hasan Noman, agreed with the prosecutors, telling the French news agency the family wants the attackers prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. "We want all the culprits to be hanged to death," he said.

The head of the women's human rights group Bangladesh Mahila Parishad, Maleka Banu, demanded that more be done to ensure the safety of women in Bangladesh.

"Justice has to be ensured," she said, "[but] just ensuring that the Nusrat case is taken care of is not enough. We need to do more to make the situation better for Bangladeshi women."

A study conducted by the rights group found that some 950 women were raped in the country last year.