Photo of Bangladesh PM at oath-taking event shared in misleading posts about 'child rape law'

Copyright AFP 2017-2022. All rights reserved.

A photo of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been shared repeatedly on Facebook in January 2022 with a claim it shows her signing a "new law" specifically for child rape. The posts are misleading; the photo has circulated in news reports since 2019 about Hasina attending an oath-taking ceremony for newly elected MPs. Bangladesh introduced the death penalty as the maximum punishment for rape in 2020. Since then, the South Asian country has not passed a new law specifically for convicted child rapists.

The photo was posted here on Facebook on January 3, 2022.

"Honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has signed a new law for the direct death penalty for the crime of child rape", its Bangla-language caption translates in part.

Screenshot of the misleading post taken on January 6, 2022

The same photo was shared here and here on Facebook alongside a similar claim.

But these posts are misleading.

Misused photo

A reverse image search on Google shows the photo shared in the misleading posts has been published in news reports since 2019 that do not relate to new punishments for convicted child rapists.

The reports state the photo shows Hasina signing an official book for MPs at an oath-taking ceremony in Bangladesh's national parliament on January 3, 2019.

Local news outlets Prothom Alo and The Financial Express both published the photo, crediting national news agency Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha.

Screenshot of the report with the photo published by The Financial Express

No 'new' law

Bangladesh introduced the death penalty as the maximum punishment for rape in October 2020, AFP reported. Previously the maximum punishment for rape was life imprisonment.

The 2020 law covers all rape cases including child rape.

As of January 10, 2022, Hasina has not signed a "new law" for convicted child rapists.