| GEO World|
| Bangladeshi single mother caned over paternity claim|
| Updated at: 1230 PST, Tuesday, May 26, 2009|
DHAKA: A 22-year-old unmarried Bangladeshi woman who was caned 39 times for alleging a neighbour was the father of her son is fighting for her life in hospital, police said Tuesday.
The case has shocked the impoverished Muslim-majority nation, with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina ordering the woman to be shifted from her village home to the capital for proper medical treatment.
Local police chief Moshiur Rahman told that the woman, from Comilla, 70 kilometres (43 miles) east of the capital Dhaka, had angered Islamic clerics, when she told friends that a neighbour had fathered her six-year-old son. They called her and the alleged father to appear before a makeshift Islamic court, but the man denied the paternity claim, Rahman said. "He held a Koran in one hand and swore to the village clerics that he was not the father of the boy. The village court found him not guilty," he said. "They also issued a fatwa that the woman should be caned 39 times for lying."
The woman, seriously injured after the caning, was admitted to a local hospital but was later shifted to the country's largest hospital in Dhaka on the orders of the Prime Minister, Rahman said. Two of the clerics have been arrested for repression of women, he said, and DNA testing had been arranged to determine the father of the child.